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12/22/16 - IEM Director Bin He and Research Team Made Breakthrough in Mind-Controlled Robotic Arm

A first-of-its-kind mind-controlled robotic arm that utilizes technology developed by Dr. Bin He, Professor of Biomedical Engineering and director of IEM and the Center for Neuroengineering (CNE), was featured by a variety of media including the Wall Street Journal, Star Tribune, Fox News, and KSTP. "This is the first time in the world that people can operate a robotic arm to reach and grasp objects in a complex 3-D environment using only their thoughts without a brain implant," says Dr. He. Building upon technology Dr. He developed for mind-controlled drones, the robotic arm system is a big step toward a future of medical applications that could range from rehabilitating stroke patients to helping paralyzed patients regain the ability to perform basic tasks in their everyday lives. The paper was published in Scientific Reports, a Nature research journal.

12/22/16 - IEM Members Among Leadership of University of Minnesota Component of U.S. Department of Commerce Innovation Institute

Several IEM Members will help to lead a component of the recently-announced National Institute for Innovation in Manufacturing Biopharmaceuticals (NIIMBL), a consortium of companies, state governments and academic institutions that seeks to advance the rapidly-growing biopharmaceutical industry with innovative production processes and both the creation and training of its future workforce. The institute will be supported by what is expected to be more than $200 Million of public-private partnership funding including a $70 Million 5-year grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce.

The University of Minnesota component's leadership team will include IEM Members Drs. Samira M. Azarin, Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science; Vadim J. Gurvich, Research Associate Professor of Medicinal Chemistry; Wei-Shou Hu, Professor of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science; David H. McKenna, Jr., Professor of Lab Medicine and Pathology; and Jakub Tolar, Professor of Pediatrics, Director of the Stem Cell Institute and Executive Vice Dean of the Medical School.

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker Announces Biopharmaceutical Manufacturing Institute

12/22/16 - Blood Washing Device Invented by Allison Hubel is Featured by Twin Cities Business

A blood washing device invented by IEM Executive Committee Member Dr. Allison Hubel, Professor of Mechanical Engineering, and Director of the IEM-affiliated Biopreservation Core Resource (BioCoR), was featured by Twin Cities Business. The automated system cleanses from thawed blood glycerol preservatives, which are added to blood prior to its freezing for storage, and it does so more efficiently and safely than does a centrifuge, which has been the standard type of equipment used for this process and which requires more time and labor to use and results in high cell losses. Dr. Hubel's device could ultimately help to make large strategic reserves available from blood produced from stem cells, during emergencies when insufficient quantities of donated blood are available - something which is not as possible with centrifuges. The device took a big step toward this future with a $223,000 Phase I NIH SBIR grant awarded in September to the start-up company seeking to commercialize it, Headwaters Innovation Inc., led by a successful local entrepreneur.

Veteran Medtech Player Seeks to Commercialize U. of M. Blood Washing Device

12/22/16 - Henry Balfour Discusses Epstein-Barr Virus with USA Today

IEM Member Dr. Henry H. Balfour, Jr., Professor of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology, was interviewed by the USA Today about Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV), commonly-known as mono and "childhood kissing disease." Dr. Balfour says that the disease can potentially have long-term consequences for those who suffer from it, including the 280,000 college freshmen that contract the disease, annually. "Epstein-Barr Virus is responsible for a number of chronic conditions, especially certain forms of cancer and autoimmune disease and even multiple sclerosis," says Dr. Balfour. Symptoms of the disease experienced later in life can include symptoms of the flu that don't completely subside, joint pain and ringing in the ears, according to Dr. Balfour, who adds that the EBV virus can also lead to chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia. Dr. Balfour, who's research is focused on the development of a vaccine against EBV, says that "the best way to deal with all these EBV diseases is to prevent them from happening in the first place."

Could Childhood Kissing Disease Root Your Mystery Illness?

12/22/16 - Kelvin Lim Discusses Use of Ecstasy to Treat PTSD with KARE 11

Dr. Kelvin O. Lim, Professor of Psychiatry, Drs. T.J. and Ella M. Arneson Land Grant Chair in Human Behavior and Co-Chair of IEM's Neuroengineering Theme was interviewed by KARE 11 about new, FDA-approved Phase III clinical trials of the party drug Ecstasy (MDMA) for the treatment of PTSD. MDMA is classified as a Schedule 1 drug with no currently accepted medical use. The new trials build upon research that included a trial in which MDMA was used as part of a broader treatment regimen, including therapy, that resulted in a 56% decrease in the severity of symptoms of PTSD and two-thirds of the patients no longer meeting the criteria for having the disorder. Dr. Lim, who has not studied MDMA, says that the potential use of MDMA to treat PTSD is "very promising and exciting" due to the lack of effective medications and that "thirty to forty percent of people don't respond to treatment". However, Dr. Lim cautions that if MDMA is approved as treatment for PTSD, mechanisms will need to be put in place to insure that it used in a safe and effective manner.

FDA Approves Large-Scale Trial of Ecstasy to Treat PTSD

12/22/16 - Melena Bellin Discusses with Reuters Health Testing to Predict Insulin Dependence Following Total Pancreatectomy with Islet Autotransplantation

Dr. Melena D. Bellin, Associate Professor of Pediatrics, discussed with Reuters Health the results of a study suggesting that the Lower Oral Glucose Tolerance Test (OGTT) can help to predict the insulin dependence of chronic pancreatitis patients following total pancreatectomy with islet autotransplantation (TPIAT). The research showed a relationship between patients' glucose status prior to the procedure, as measured by OGTT, and the need for insulin therapy one year after the procedure. "While risk of diabetes is most often a secondary consideration (to pain control/quality of life) in selecting patients for TPIAT, it is very important that patients are provided a realistic expectation of outcomes in preoperative counseling," says Dr. Bellin, who adds that "Some patients may choose not to undergo TPIAT knowing that their testing before surgery puts them at very high risk for lifelong insulin dependence after surgery."

OGTT Testing May Help Counsel Patients Before Total Pancreatectomy with Islet Autotransplantation

12/22/16 - Dick Bianco & Brenda Ogle Elected as 2017 AIMBE Fellows

IEM members Drs. Richard W. Bianco, Associate Professor of Surgery and Program Director of Experimental Surgical Services, and Brenda M. Ogle, Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering have been elected to the 2017 Class of American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) Fellows. Drs. Bianco and Ogle will join the AIMBE College of Fellows, which consists of approximately "1,500 individuals who are the outstanding bioengineers in academia, industry and government. These leaders in the field have distinguished themselves through their contributions in research, industrial practice and/or education." Each will be inducted on March 20th at AIMBE's Annual Even in Washington, D.C.

AIMBE College of Fellows Nominations & Election

11/28/16 - IEM Industrial Advisory Board Member Among Brain-Computer Interface Investigators Published in New England Journal of Medicine

IEM Industrial Advisory Board Member Dr. Timothy Denison, Vice President of Research and Core Technology, and Technical Fellow at Medtronic, was among investigators whose research, on the use of a fully-implanted brain-computer interface (BCI) for communication by an ALS patient, was published in the New England Journal of Medicine. The patient suffers from "locked-in syndrome," a form of paralysis which prevents her from being able to communicate verbally or in other muscular-based ways, but which does not affect her cognitive ability. By thinking about moving her fingers, the patient generates a brain signal that is identified and converted into a mouse click by the BCI system, allowing her to then select individual letters on a keyboard and type messages. Dr. Denison says that the next objectives are to make the technology operate faster and useable in a home environment. The research was performed at the University Medical Center (UMC) Utrecht, in the Netherlands, and was funded, in-part, by Medtronic.

Fully Implanted Brain-Computer Interface in Locked-In Patient with ALS

11/28/16 - Jakub Tolar Speaks at Conference in Cuba to Promote Collaborative Research in Regenerative and Cellular Medicine

IEM Member Dr. Jakub Tolar, Professor of Pediatrics, Director of the Stem Cell Institute and Executive Vice Dean of Medical School, was among the speakers at the inaugural Inter American Regenerative and Cellular Medicine Conference, which was held in Havana, Cuba, October 13th through 15th. The conference, which hosted 180 medical professionals from 14 countries, focused upon the potential standardization of stem cell therapies in medicine. Dr. Tolar says that the conference "was a fine example of how international research starts with human interactions," and that being "derived in part from shared knowledge of regenerative medicine literature and in part from the shared goal of alleviating human suffering anywhere in the world, the meeting of Cuban and American clinician-researchers offered a blueprint for future interactions."

First Inter American Regenerative and Cellular Medicine Conference

11/28/16 - Theresa Reineke Leads Team that Discovers Method to Improve Effectiveness of Orally-Taken Medications

IEM Member Dr. Theresa M. Reineke, Professor of Chemistry, led a team of researchers who, along with colleagues at the Dow Chemical Company, discovered a method of customizing ingredients to make orally-taken medications more dissolvable, and thus absorbed in the bloodstream more quickly and effectively than existing methods. The team tested the process with an anti-seizure drug and another that treats late-stage prostate cancer. Dr. Reineke says that the method could be broadly applied "by many companies to create other life-saving medicines." The research has been published in the American Chemical Society's ACS Central Science and a patent on the technology has been applied for by the University of Minnesota and Dow. The study's Co-Author, Dr. Frank Bates, a University of Minnesota Regents Professor of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science, says that this breakthrough is "a perfect example of what can happen when industry and academia come together."

New Discovery Could Help Oral Medicines Work Better

11/28/16 - Jerrold Vitek Discusses Innovative Deep Brain Stimulation Procedure to Treat Neurological Disorder

IEM Member Dr. Jerrold L. Vitek, McKnight Professor and Chair of the Department of Neurology, discussed in a November 5th Star Tribune article the progress and potential of Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) to help patients struggling with a variety of neurological disorders, such as Parkinson's Disease (PD). The research uses a method called "closed-loop stimulation" in its DBS procedures, which triggers pulses only when abnormal neural patterns are recognized. This new method also has the potential to reduce post-surgery side effects, such as headaches and dizziness. "This [procedure] has already gone far beyond what anyone thought it could be," said Dr. Vitek. "But we believe that we can fine-tune this even more, so people can have a much better quality of life." Dr. Vitek and his colleagues are also seeking to develop a novel pattern of stimulation called coordinated reset that he says "is a very new and exciting approach." Both closed-loop stimulation and "coordinated reset" "are novel and will provide additional benefits for patients with PD who undergo DBS," says Dr. Vitek.

Twin Cities Father to Undergo Cutting-Edge Brain Surgery at U.

11/28/16 - Daniel Duprez Discusses Complexity of Relationship Between Diet and Cardiovascular Health

IEM Member Dr. Daniel Duprez, Professor of Medicine, Donald and Patricia Garofalo Chair in Preventive Cardiology, was featured in an article in the October edition of Minnesota Monthly, "Rethinking Conventional Wisdom on Heart Disease." Focusing on research about the relationship between a person's diet and cardiovascular disease, the article described the recent discussion regarding a heart-healthy diet. There are controversial reports that eating more meat and butter would not cause heart disease in everybody. In contrast, studies of the Mediterranean diet have clearly shown that eating more healthy fats from fish, nuts and vegetable oils decreases risk for heart disease. In addition, recent studies show that replacing fats with higher amounts of starches and sugars actually increases the risk of heart disease, which goes against thinking that evolved, in large part, from a study funded by the sugar industry in 1967. "Is it not time to pay more attention what we eat and how we eat, instead of using only drive-in and micro-wave prepared frozen food or canned food with a high sugar drink and dessert? Healthy eating is the corner stone of prevention," says Dr. Duprez.

Rethinking Conventional Wisdom on Heart Disease

11/28/16 - Kathryn Cullen Utilizing Brain Imaging to Study Non-Suicidal Self Injury in Adolescent Girls

IEM Member Dr. Kathryn Cullen, Assistant Professor and Division Chief, Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry, and colleagues are beginning a 5-year study that will examine the relationship between self-harm behavior and certain biological metrics, such as hormones and neurocircuitry, in adolescent girls. The number of these non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI) behaviors has been on the rise in recent years, due in part to the diffusion of these behaviors over social media networks. Citing the current lack of data for biological factors as a cause of NSSI behaviors, Dr. Cullen is seeking to find evidence linking the two, stating, "We hope to uncover a meaningful understanding of the neural mechanisms driving NSSI, paving the way for developing new treatments to address NSSI." Besides linking these factors to NSSI, Dr. Cullen hopes that this type of research will help reduce the stigma around mental illness, providing people with a new lens through which they can understand these afflictions.

Emerging Methodology May Improve Mental Health Research

11/28/16 - Alan T. Hirsch & AHA Request CMS Coverage for Supervised Exercise Therapy for Peripheral Artery Disease

IEM Member, Dr. Alan T. Hirsch, Professor of Medicine, Epidemiology and Community Health, Director of the Vascular Medicine Program, and Co-Director of the Minnesota Heart Health Program, on behalf of the American Heart Association (AHA), has requested coverage from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) to provide all Americans with access to supervised exercise therapy as a first line treatment for peripheral artery disease (PAD). For the more than 8 million people who suffer from PAD in the U.S., leg artery blockages lower the flow of oxygenated blood to the legs resulting in muscle fatigue, discomfort and pain during exercise, a symptom called "claudication". People with PAD also face a very high short-term risk of heart attack and stroke. Currently, claudication is commonly treated via invasive procedures, such as stenting or surgery. However, supervised exercise is now recognized as one of the most safe, effective and inexpensive treatments to improve claudication, in part due to a large NIH-supported trial completed by Dr. Hirsch and other University of Minnesota faculty. The exercise setting also lowers cardiovascular risk. "Stenting and medication will continue to be a common way to treat PAD and these approaches may be preferred by some patients," Dr. Hirsch said. "But now we can offer a program that offers all patients a more therapeutic choice."

Supervised Exercise to Treat P.A.D.

10/27/16 - Bin He and Colleagues Awarded $1.9 Million NIH Grant to Study Brain-Computer Interface with Mind-Body Awareness Training

Dr. Bin He, IEM director, Distinguished McKnight University Professor of Biomedical Engineering, and Medtronic-Bakken Endowed Chair for Engineering in Medicine, and his multi-disciplinary research team have established a novel approach for improving learning of and performance with brain-computer interface technology. Dr. He's research investigates Mind-Body Awareness Training for improving learning of and performance with brain-computer interface as part of a 5-year, $1.9 Million National Institutes of Health research grant. Other investigators in the grant are IEM member Dr. Steve Engel, Professor of Psychology, and Dr. Mary Jo Kreitzer, Professor of Nursing and director of the Center for Spirituality and Healing. This cutting-edge technology holds the promise to assist numerous patients suffering from neuromuscular disorders and other systemic and brain diseases. The proposed research will significantly enhance the brain-computer interface use through mind-body intervention, and thus will benefit numerous patients, including disabled patients, and the general population to enhance control over their environment.

Mind-Body Awareness Training and Brain-Computer Interface

10/27/16 - Vipin Kumar Receives IEEE Computer Society's Sidney Fernbach Award

IEM Member Dr. Vipin Kumar, Regents Professor of Computer Science and Engineering, has received the 2016 IEEE Computer Society Sidney Fernbach Award "for foundational work on understanding scalability, and highly scalable algorithms for graph partitioning, sparse linear systems, and data mining." Dr. Kumar is internationally-known for his work in advancing the fields of high-performance computing and big data. The award was established in 1992 in memory of Sidney Fernbach, a pioneer in high-performance computing, to honor those who make "outstanding contributions in the application of high-performance computers using innovative approaches." Dr. Kumar will be presented with the award on November 15th at the supercomputing conference SC16 in Salt Lake City, Utah.

2016 Sidney Fernbach Award

10/27/16 - IEM Member & Colleagues Discover Cause of Resistance to Breast Cancer Drug

IEM Member Dr. Douglas Yee, Professor of Medicine and Pharmacology and Director of the Masonic Cancer Center, in collaboration with Reuben S. Harris, Professor of Biochemistry, Molecular Biology and Biophysics, and their colleagues, have identified a protein, APOBEC3B, that creates mutations leading to resistance to the breast cancer drug tamoxifen. As reported in Health Medicine Network, the discovery could lead to improvements that would make tamoxifen more effective in treating breast cancer and also to the treatment of other cancers that become drug-resistant. "In the treatment of all metastatic cancer, patients will eventually develop resistance and progress. What are the mechanisms of resistance? [APOBEC3B] is proving to be a major driver of resistance and something we're continuing to actively investigate," says Dr. Yee. The results have been published in the journal Science Advances.

Culprit Found in Breast Cancer Resistance to Tamoxifen

10/27/16 - FDA Approves New Epilepsy Drug Developed by College of Pharmacy Faculty

IEM Member Dr. James Cloyd, Professor of Experimental and Clinical Pharmacology, and Director of the Center for Orphan Drug Research, and his departmental colleagues, Drs. Angela Birnbaum and Ilo Leppik, have developed a new epilepsy drug product that received FDA approval on October 8. As reported in Epilepsy News Today, the drug, named Carnexiv, can be injected, making it an alternative when patients are unable to take the oral carbamazepine formulations, as may occur when a patient is unconscious or has a severe gastrointestinal disorder. "This approval is the result of years of work to create a novel and stable injection formulation to support patients who need an alternative to oral carbamazepine," says Dr. Cloyd. Carnexiv's development began with NIH funding (Leppik, PI; Cloyd, Co-PI) that resulted in the publication of a pharmacokinetic study. The study laid the groundwork for the design of a Phase II trial that was used as part of the NDA. Development continued through a partnership between the University of Minnesota and a drug company, Lundbeck. A key element in the development plan was submission of an orphan drug designation application (Cloyd co-author) to the FDA, which granted Carnexiv orphan drug status in 2013.

FDA Approves Carnexiv Injection for Epilepsy Seizures as Replacement Therapy

10/27/16 - IEM Members Part of Team that Discovers Role of Endoglin During Embryonic Development of Cardiac & Blood Cells

IEM Members Dr. Rita Perlingeiro, Professor of Medicine/Cardiology, Dr. Daniel J. Garry, Professor of Medicine, and Dr. Naoko Koyano-Nakagawa, Assistant Professor of Medicine/Cardiology, are a part of a team of researchers who discovered the role endoglin plays in the development of the blood and cardiac cells during embryonic development. These researchers and their colleagues manipulated primary heart cells from zebrafish and mice and differentiated mouse pluripotent stem cells to identify the effects of endoglin on cellular expression. Dr. Perlingeiro says that "by using multiple model systems, combined with specialized cell sorting technology and sequencing tools, our findings help uncover mechanisms previously unseen in the few cells engaged in these early development decisions." This research may provide further information in the roles that endoglin plays in congenital heart defects, as well as discovering ways to catalyze the development of blood or heart tissue following an injury.

UMN Researchers Find Link Between Heart and Blood Cells in Early Development

10/27/16 - IEM Team Begins Researching Application of 3D Printed Scaffold to Treatment of Spinal Cord Injuries

A team of IEM members, Dr. Michael McAlpine, Benjamin Mayhugh Associate Professor in Mechanical Engineering, Dr. James R. Dutton, Research Assistant Professor of Genetics, Cell Biology, and Development at the Minnesota Stem Cell Institute, and Dr. Ann M. Parr, Assistant Professor of Neurosurgery, is working on a new research project that is using 3D printing to construct a scaffold to support cells in the reconstruction of an injured spinal cord. Though in the early stages of development, the team hopes to create a technology that will "provide an effective therapy for spinal cord injury," says Dr. Parr, essentially a "spinal cord on a chip." The scaffold could potentially be used to treat patients with chronic spinal cord injuries and may lead to other advances in the field of regenerative medicine.

UMN Doctor Researches New Way to Treat Spinal Cord Injuries

10/27/16 - Ben Hackel Close to Commercializing Unique Molecular Imaging Probe for Cancer Detection; MN-REACH Funding Playing Key Role

IEM Member Dr. Benjamin J. Hackel, Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science, has developed a molecular imaging probe detectable by PET scans for the imaging of numerous types of cancers, including colorectal and breast cancers. As reported in Twin Cities Business, the probe can improve how these cancers are treated. "It's a way of identifying which patients are likely to respond to a particular type of therapy versus patients who aren't likely to respond - it's a personalized medicine approach. Clinics right now don't have a very good way of differentiating between these two patient populations, so we propose that a PET imaging approach would be able to provide that," says Dr. Hackel. MN-REACH funding is being used to complete the final steps toward commercializing the technology, including "making some small but important modifications in the molecule so that it will perform more effectively at the human patient level," according to Dr. Hackel.

U. of M. Cancer Researchers Readying Intro of New Molecular Imaging Technology

10/27/16 - David Jacobs is Lead Author in Study Published in the Journal of Pediatrics on Future Benefits of Healthy Eating by Teens

IEM Member Dr. David R. Jacobs, Professor of Epidemiology & Community Health, was the lead author of a study published in the Journal of Pediatrics showing that healthy eating by teenagers leads to less weight gain and BMI during early adulthood. The study, which followed more than 2,500 students at Minneapolis and St. Paul high schools, from when they were 15 years old until they were 25, showed that the benefits were experienced by not only those who had healthy diets at age 15 but also by those who switched to a healthy diet during those years. Dr. Jacobs concludes that "food preferences and attitudes may be established as early as age 15," and that the "choices adolescents make during that stage establish a lifetime diet pattern, which could influence weight gain over time."

Higher Quality Diet in Adolescence and Dietary Improvements Are Related to Less Weight Gain During the Transition from Adolescence to Adulthood

09/30/16 - Jerry Vitek and Colleagues Awarded $9 Million Udall Center of Excellence in Parkinson's Disease Research

A recently-awarded Udall Center of Excellence in Parkinson's Disease Research at the University of Minnesota will be led by IEM member Dr. Jerrold L. Vitek, Professor and Chair of the Department of Neurology. It is one of 9 such centers funded in the U.S., and will be supported with more than $9 Million of NIH funding over 5 years, with its research theme being "Circuit-based deep brain stimulation for Parkinson's disease." Dr. Vitek, who will serve as the center's Principal Investigator, says that the University of Minnesota has "a world-class multidisciplinary team to treat patients with Parkinson's disease, and because of our significant experience and expertise we are able to take on this complex and often debilitating movement disorder with a goal of improving patient's lives." Legislative support through the MnDRIVE Brain Conditions initiative played a key role in securing the center award for the University, according to Dr. Vitek. Two IEM Seed Group Grants also helped to facilitate the early development of the center's research.

University of Minnesota Named Udall Center of Excellence in Parkinson's Disease Research

09/30/16 - Wei Chen and Colleagues Awarded $4.4 Million NIH BRAIN Initiative Grant

IEM Executive Committee Member Dr. Wei Chen, Professor of Radiology, and his colleagues were recently awarded a five year, $4.4 Million NIH BRAIN Initiative grant for research entitled "Integrated FMRI Methods to Study Neurophysiology and Circuit Dynamics at Laminar and Columnar Level." According to the project's Public Health Relevance Statement, the research aims to show "how the brain functions at the micro-circuit and network levels," which "should lead to transformative breakthroughs in understanding dynamic functions of the human brain, underlying electrophysiology basis and mapping specificity of fMRI to a new level." In addition, it could potentially lead to the development of leading-edge technology that will make possible more safe and effective deep brain stimulation (DBS) devices for patients. This is the second BRAIN Initiative grant that Dr. Chen received from NIH.

Integrated FMRI Methods to Study Neurophysiology and Circuit Dynamics at Laminar and Columnar Level

09/30/16 - Jonathan Sachs Published in Nature Chemical Biology

Research conducted by IEM Member Dr. Jonathan N. Sachs, Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering, entitled "Oxidation increases the strength of the methionine-aromatic interaction," has been published in Nature Chemical Biology. The study, says Dr. Sachs, demonstrates "that oxidation increases the thermodynamic strength of interaction between methionine and aromatic residues," and "that this change is sufficient to block ligand binding in a Tumor Necrosis Factor receptor, and to lead to misfolding in a calcium binding protein involved in cardiac function and heart disease." Dr. Sachs says that this new understanding "will open new avenues of therapeutic design in proteins that are vulnerable to age-related oxidative processes, including neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson's."

Oxidation Increases the Strength of the Methionine-Aromatic Interaction

09/30/16 - Bob Tranquillo Leads Team that Developments Grow-Able Synthetic Blood Vessel; Could Eventually Treat Children

A research team led by IEM Member Dr. Robert T. Tranquillo, Professor and Department Head of Biomedical Engineering, has developed an implantable blood vessel that could eventually be used to treat children with heart defects. As reported by the Star Tribune, this vessel is unique because it can continue to grow as the child grows, as it did in growing lambs, which would allow children to avoid having to get it replaced later in life with surgeries that are costly and carry a lot of risk. "For the well-being of the patient, and not to mention the cost involved, there could be really major benefits if this material does in fact grow in a human. We've shown it in a sheep, and we would hope that someday it would also be demonstrated in a patient," says Dr. Tranquillo. The vessel could potentially be used to treat more than 1,000 children in the U.S., annually.

In Key Advance U. Team Builds Blood Vessel that Grows with Body

09/30/16 - IEM Group Grant Leads to NIH R01 Grant; Promotes Global Diversity

IEM members Dr. Donald Simone and Dr. Kalpna Gupta received a multi-PI NIH RO1 grant to examine novel targets to treat pain in sickle cell disease. Dr. Simone is a Professor, Department Chair and Division Director, Department of Diagnostic and Biological Sciences and Dr. Gupta is a Professor of Medicine and Co-Chair of the IEM Molecular and Cellular Bioengineering Theme. Dr. Gupta says that the research will address a major co-morbidity associated with sickle cell disease, that affects vast populations globally and mostly African-Americans. "We thank the members for promoting the IEM vision of promoting global diversity. Preliminary data for this grant was supported by an IEM Group grant," says Dr. Gupta.

09/30/16 - Christy Haynes Discusses with Chemical & Engineering News Female Chemistry Faculty Advancements at Top Institutions

IEM Executive Committee Member Dr. Christy L. Haynes, Professor and Vice Chair, Department of Chemistry, discussed with Chemical & Engineering News a recent growth trend in female faculty advancement in chemistry departments at leading Ph.D.-granting institutions in the U.S. While female representation among chemistry faculty grew only 2% to 19.1% from 2013-14 to 2014-15, the increase stands out after years of more incremental increases. Dr. Haynes says that the Open Chemistry Collaborative in Diversity Equity (OXIDE), an initiative supported by the NSF, NIH and DOD, has been working to improve these numbers by getting the leaders of these departments, who are mostly white and male, to drive diversification, instead of placing much of this burden on women and minority Ph.D.'s and faculty. "In bringing all the chairs together, they're trying to make sure that all the work to increase diversity doesn't land on the people that are the diversity," says Dr. Haynes.

Women Crack Academic Glass Ceiling

09/30/16 - Pierre-Francois Van de Moortele & Thomas Henry Awarded NSF CRCNS Grant

IEM Members Dr. Pierre-Francois Van de Moortele, Associate Professor of Radiology CMRR and Dr. Thomas R. Henry, Professor of Neurology, have been awarded a National Science Foundation Collaborative Research in Computational Neuroscience (CRCNS) grant. Van de Moortele is serving as a PI and Dr. Henry is serving as a Co-PI, for the research, entitled: "US-France Research Proposal. Hippocampal layers: advanced computational anatomy using very high resolution MRI at 7 Tesla in humans." The grant's duration is 3 years and totals $928,000, with the U.S. portion being $573,342.

Dr. Van de Moortele says that this US-France collaborative research combines two powerful, complementary approaches to explore at a sub-millimeter scale tiny inner structures of the hippocampus, and better understand related functions altered in clinical conditions, with a focus on adult and teenager epileptic patients: 1) cutting-edge imaging methods will be pushed on MRI scanners operating at 7 Tesla to attain unprecedented spatial resolution in multi-contrast modalities, and, 2) high-resolution computational anatomy methods, moving beyond traditional morphometry, will be developed to unveil alterations not detected by conventional means. Dr. Van de Moortele and his colleagues expect that the outcome of this research will pave the way for new biomarkers for diagnosis, prognosis and new therapeutic development.

09/30/16 - 2016 IEM Walter Barnes Lang Fellowship Awardees Announced

IEM announced the awardees of the Walter Barnes Lang Fellowship, which will support travel for research presentations. Recipients of the award are graduate students at the University of Minnesota engaged in study and research related to engineering in medicine, advised by IEM Members, who are evaluated on their record of academic achievement, quality of their research plan, demonstrated commitment to engineering in medicine and demonstrated leadership strengths. One Fellowship was awarded in each of IEM's themes. The awardees and their IEM Member advisors are as follows:

Cardiovascular Engineering
Awardee: Xu, Bin, Advisor: Dr. Wei Shen
Abstract: Unique Alignment of hPSC-derived Myogenic Cells in Response to Nanotopographical Cues and Biochemical Ligands

Cellular and Molecular Bioengineering
Awardee: Forkus, Brittany, Advisor: Dr. Yiannis Kaznessis
Abstract: Engineering Probiotic Bacteria for Pathogen Reduction in Poultry

Medical Devices
Awardee: Agrawal, Pranav, Advisor: Dr. Theresa Reineke
Abstract: Fast, efficient and gentle transfection of human adherent cells in suspension

Medical and Biological Imaging
Awardee: Thathachary, Supriya V., Advisor: Dr. Shai Ashkenazi
Abstract: Performance Improvement of an all-optical Fabry Perot Ultrasound Detector

Awardee: Sen, Bhaskar, Advisor: Dr. Keshab K. Parhi
Abstract: Classification of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder from Resting-State fMRI

08/29/16 - Registration Open for IEM Annual Conference and Retreat

Registration is now open for the 5th Annual Institute for Engineering in Medicine (IEM) Conference and Retreat, taking place on September 26, 2016 from 8:30 AM - 5:30 PM at the McNamara Alumni Center on the University of Minnesota's Twin Cities Campus. The event will open with plenary keynote talks by nationally recognized leaders, followed by networking lunch. In the afternoon, breakout sessions will be taking place for IEM faculty members and industrial colleagues to discuss research collaboration opportunities relating to Cardiovascular Engineering, Neuroengineering, Cellular and Molecular Bioengineering, Medical and Biological Imaging, and Medical Devices. From mid-afternoon, there will be a poster/networking session highlighting research of IEM faculty members and their groups included in the program. The retreat and conference shall offer rich opportunities for participants to develop interdisciplinary collaborations between health sciences and engineering, and form teams of collaborators responding to federal/external funding opportunities. 70% of the room capacity has already been filled by the registrants so far. Register ASAP to secure your seat in this free event.

08/29/16 - Bin He Delivered Plenary Talk on Human BRAIN Research at IEEE EMBC International Conference

Dr. Bin He, IEM director and Distinguished McKnight University Professor of Biomedical Engineering, spoke in the BRAIN Plenary Symposium on "Electrophysiological Neuroimaging and Brain-Computer Interface" at the 38th Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (EMBC'16) held in Orlando, FL from August 16-20, 2016. In his lecture, Dr. He described exciting research on dynamic human brain imaging and mind-controlled medical devices at the University of Minnesota. Other two speakers in the Plenary Symposium are Dr. Karl Deisseroth, D.H. Chen Professor of Bioengineering and of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University, member of NAE, NAM and HHMI; and Dr. Sarah Hollingsworth Lisanby, Director of Translational Research Division of NIMH, on behalf of Dr. Walter Koroshetz, NINDS director and co-chair of NIH BRAIN Multi-council Working Group. EMBC'16 were attended by more than 2,600 scientists and engineers from all around the world.

08/29/16 - Jakub Tolar Named Executive Vice Dean of the University of Minnesota Medical School

IEM Member Dr. Jakub Tolar, Professor of Pediatrics and Director of the Stem Cell Institute, was named Executive Vice Dean of the University of Minnesota Medical School. In his announcement of Dr. Tolar's new role, Dean Brooks Jackson stated that it "will be an important position on my leadership team, with a strong focus on implementing the Medical School's strategic plan and driving our goal of excellence in all areas of our mission." Dr. Tolar stated that he believes that the "Medical School has the people we need to make us one of the best in the nation. I hope to work with faculty and staff to identify and remove obstacles to success in recruiting and retaining faculty, performing meaningful research, and excelling at scholarship at the highest, most creative level."

08/29/16 - David Odde and Colleagues Awarded an $8.2 Million NIH Grant for New Cancer Research Center; IEM Seed Grants Played Early Role

IEM Executive Committee Member Dr. David J. Odde, Professor of Biomedical Engineering, and his team, have been awarded a 5-year, $8.2 Million NIH Physical Sciences in Oncology Center (PSOC) grant from the National Cancer Institute. The development of the center project was supported by two IEM Group Grants since 2013. Dr. Odde is serving as the Project Leader (contact PI) for this Center for Modeling Tumor Cell Migration Mechanics, which is one of a nationwide network of 10 PSOC's. In addition to Dr. Odde, other key leaders include IEM Member Dr. David A. Largaespada (multiple PI), Professor, Department of Cell Biology and Development Genetics, of the Masonic Cancer Center, IEM Member Dr. Paolo Provenzano (core PI), Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering, and Dr. Steven Rosenfeld (multiple PI), of the Cleveland Clinic. The center will include a team of biomedical engineers, cancer biologists, surgeons and oncologists from the University of Minnesota, who will collaborate with both the Cleveland Clinic and Mayo Clinic.

While common approaches to fighting cancer involve the attacking of cancer cells, the new center will instead explore how cancer cells can be prevented from migrating and ultimately metastasizing and invading vital organs, which are the primary causes of cancer deaths. The center will perform "integrated modeling and experiments to investigate the molecular mechanics of cell migration and how the tumor microenvironment regulates disease progression as a function of the underlying carcinoma genetics."

NIH Project: Center for Modeling Tumor Cell Migration Mechanics

08/29/16 - Kamil Ugurbil and Essa Yacoub Among Awardees of $6.9 Million in Grants for Continuation of Human Brain Connectivity Research at CMRR

Dr. Kamil Ugurbil, Professor of Medicine, Neurosciences, and Radiology, and Director of the Center for Magnetic Resonance Research (CMRR), and Dr. Essa Yacoub Professor of Radiology in CMRR, both IEM members, have together received two grants totaling $6.9 million, awarded to the CMRR for the continuation of research to map connectivity of the human brain. The research began nearly 5 years ago as a consortium called the Human Connectome Project (HCP), between the University of Minnesota, Washington University in St Louis, and Oxford University (UK), focused on mapping connectivity in the young, healthy adult brain.

This work is now extended to the study of brain connectivity during aging and development with two new grants involving a larger consortium that includes Harvard and UCLA. "The mapping techniques we created in the HCP are truly transformative, allowing us to better understand how the brain is organized and connected. With these new techniques, we are now in a position to ask about how the brain develops and changes over time, and how it is altered in diseases," says Dr. Ugurbil. IEM Member Dr. Essa Yacoub, Professor of Radiology, will co-lead the development component of the research together with Dr. Kathleen Thomas, Professor, Institute of Child Development, in which changes to the behavior, mood and brains of children in their early years of puberty will be measured against changes to their pubescent hormones. Dr. Ugurbil, together with Dr. Melissa Terpstra, Associate Professor of Radiology-CMRR, will lead the effort focused on studying the effects of aging.

CMRR Receives $6.9 Million Grant for Continuation of Brain Connectivity Research

08/29/16 - Kevin Peterson to lead $2.6 Million NIH-Funded Study to Improve Diabetes Care

IEM Member Dr. Kevin A. Peterson, Professor of Family Medicine and Community Health and Director, Center for Excellence in Primary Care, will lead a study supported by a $2.6 million grant from the NIH to determine how primary care providers in Minnesota can improve their care of patients with diabetes. As reported in Medical School Blog and EurekaAlert! , the study will be performed by the University of Minnesota in collaboration with Medica and HealthPartners, and determine which primary care delivery models most likely improve clinical outcomes of Minnesota's diabetic patients, by analyzing data from 2008 to 2019. The timing reflects the state's 2008 establishment of health care delivery criteria, which have since been adopted by a majority of Minnesota's primary care practices. The findings can have a nation impact: "If Minnesota legislation has effectively contributed to improving the clinical outcomes of thousands of people with diabetes, it will provide an important example for the rest of the nation for how to approach improving health care," says Dr. Peterson.

Family Medicine Doctor to Lead $2.6 Million NIH Diabetes Study

08/29/16 - Jakub Tolar Featured on WCCO for Celebration with Teen Cancer Patient of Successful Treatment

IEM Member Dr. Jakub Tolar, Professor of Pediatrics and Director of the Stem Cell Institute, was featured on WCCO for celebrating, with a kayak outing, the good health of a teenager whom he treated for cancer. The patient had fought the disease for 5 years before a bone marrow transplant, performed by Dr. Tolar, saved her life. While he was treating his patient, Dr. Tolar shared with her his passion for kayaking and "told her that I kayaked to work a couple times a week. We made a deal, it was her idea not mine, that once the transplant is done and successful for real, which it is today, that we will go together on kayak," says Dr. Tolar.

'I Can Do Anything': Teen Who Beat Cancer Celebrates with Doctor

08/29/16 - Kalpna Gupta Discusses with KARE 11 Potential Impact of DEA Decision on the Use of Marijuana for Research

IEM Member Dr. Kalpna Gupta, Professor of Medicine and Co-Chair of the IEM Molecular and Cellular Bioengineering Theme, was interviewed by KARE 11 on a recent Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) decision that could potentially allow for the use of Cannabis for research from additional sources as compared to only one source through NIDA currently. Dr. Gupta and researchers most often use synthetic cannabinoids, not the actual cannabis-derived medications in their pain research, due to existing DEA regulations. The DEA will continue to maintain the Schedule I status for Cannabis derived products but may consider requests for Medical cannabis from different sources. "I'm hoping that this would be the beginning of a conversation," says Dr. Gupta, to ultimately gain access to Minnesota made medical cannabis products.

New DEA Rules for Marijuana Research

08/29/16 - David Jacobs Published in Scientific American with Article on the Positive Impact of Exercise on Cognition

IEM Member Dr. David R. Jacobs, Professor of Epidemiology & Community Health, co-authored an article in Scientific American about how exercise can benefit a person's cognition, both after a workout and in the long-term. While scientists are not entirely certain of how exercise increases brainpower after a workout, one possible reason is that exercise increases the blood flow to the brain and with it, oxygen and other chemicals utilized by the brain. Other possibilities are that exercise creates more mitochondria to generate and sustain brain energy, and that the heart rate increase from exercise increases a person's ability to generate new brain cells. Earlier research performed by Dr. Jacobs showed long-term cognitive benefits of exercise, as 2,747 people between 18 and 30 years of age were followed for 25 years, between 1985 and 2010, with those who were more fit in 1985 performing 10% better in cognitive tests in 2010 than less physically-fit members of their cohort. The conclusion is that regular exercise can benefit a person's cognitive function in the long-term, not just after a workout.

How Does Exercise Benefit Cognition?

08/29/16 - Colum MacKinnon Conducting Study to Examine Link Between Parkinson's Disease and Sleep Disorder

Dr. Colum MacKinnon, Associate Professor of Neurology, and IEM Member, is researching the link between Parkinson's Disease and muscle activation abnormalities during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. As reported by Heath Talk , the ultimate objective of Dr. MacKinnon's research is to identify specific aspects of REM sleep that can be predictive of both the onset and progression of Parkinson's Disease, which could lead to earlier diagnosis and treatment of the condition. "The link between REM sleep abnormalities and Parkinson's is probably one of the hottest topics in neurology," says Dr. MacKinnon. Up to 60% of people suffering from Parkinson's experience significant sleep issues, in particular, muscles that should be "turned-off" during REM sleep are instead turned-on. These symptoms are often seen many years before a diagnosis of Parkinson's disease is made and are likely indicative of a "pre-Parkinsonian state." Dr. MacKinnon notes that the University of Minnesota has the "longest history of any institution of following this particular sleep problem," and was the first to make this link. He adds that the Center for Magnetic Resonance Research (CMRR) provides "state-of-art imaging of the brain" that will allow them to assess the changes in brain structure and function that occur as the disease progresses.

UMN Researchers Connecting Links to Sleep Issues and Parkinson's Disease

08/29/16 - Visible Heart Lab Featured on Big Ten Network and in Medtech Pulse

The Big Ten Network and Medtech Pulse recently featured the IEM-affiliated Visible Heart Lab and video of its various functions, including the reanimation of hearts from both pigs and humans. While the pig heart reanimations occur regularly for educational and research purposes, human heart reanimations occur very infrequently. "On the rare occasion [when] the heart is deemed not viable [for transplant], we get it to the lab within four to six hours," says Dr. Paul A. Iaizzo, Professor of Surgery, Principal Investigator of the Visible Heart Lab and IEM Associate Director for Education and Outreach. Videos and images of the reanimated hearts are placed on the Atlas of Human Cardiac Anatomy, a free website, that had 500,000 users, globally, in 2015. The Visible Heart Lab was started in collaboration with Medtronic, which has also been its primary sponsor.

Minnesota is Re-Animating Dead Pig Hearts for Science: LiveBIG
Reanimated Heart Footage is Amazing

08/29/16 - Michael Garwood is Member of Team that Developed MRI Technique to Detect Cracks in Teeth

IEM Member Dr. Michael Garwood, Professor of Radiology-CMRR, is among a team of researchers who have developed an MRI-based technique for detecting cracks in teeth called SWeep Imaging with Fourier Transformation (SWIFT). According to Dr. Garwood, "SWIFT is a unique imaging technique because it allows the MRI machine to capture fast-decaying signal from tissue, which is why regular MRI is not able to image bone and teeth." As reported in Health Talk , SWIFT can detect cracks only 20 micrometers wide, approximately the size of two red blood cells. While MRI machines tend to be too costly for dental offices, the technique, and resulting understanding of cracks in teeth, can help to improve current dental care and can also be used to identify ways in which imaging can be improved for dental applications.

Could MRI be Used to Help Detect Cracks in Teeth?

08/29/16 - 6th Annual Midwest Engineering Entrepreneurship Network Conference Held at University of Minnesota; Included Visits to IEM-Affiliated Laboratories

The Midwest Engineering Entrepreneurship Network (MEEN) held it's 6th annual conference at the University of Minnesota on July 20th and 21st . The conference is intended to "provide a forum for sharing best practices and methods for overcoming challenges unique to Midwest engineering entrepreneurship centers." It was hosted by Dr. Mostafa Kaveh, Associate Dean of the College of Science and Engineering and Kirk Froggatt, Senior Fellow and Gemini Chair in Technology Management at the Technology Leadership Institute (TLI). Its attendees included faculty and staff members from a variety of Midwestern colleges and universities, and the two-day program included visits to the IEM-affiliated Medical Devices Center and Visible Heart Lab and sessions on the NSF-sponsored MIN-Corp, and NIH-sponsored MN-REACH programs.

Midwest Engineering Entrepreneurship Network

07/27/16 - AIMBE Executive Director Milan Yager to Speak at IEM Seminar on September 13, 2016

The Institute for Engineering in Medicine (IEM) will host a seminar, "The Science Behind Failed Public Policy," by Dr. Milan P. Yager, Executive Director, American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) on Tuesday, September 13, 2016 from 12:00pm-1:00pm.

The abstract for Dr. Yager's seminar is as follows: "Today, federal funding for biomedical research, as a percentage of federal spending, has fallen to the lowest level in modern history. For far too many years NIH has been receiving increasing numbers of grant applications and funded fewer and few. What life-saving idea was among the 41,000 grant applications that were not funded last year? The most powerful country in the world, with the strongest economy and the greatest wealth, has made the spending decisions causing Federal research, and specifically, biomedical research, to be nearly flat for over a decade. If the American public recognizes and supports more funding for biomedical research why hasn't Congress responded? If biomedical research has such a high ROI and significant financial return, why isn't America investing more? The reasons behind the failed public policy not to invest in biomedical innovation is actually quite simple. It begins with a story. This discussion of policy and politics might not be what you are expecting. But it surely will impact your research, life, and wellbeing."

07/27/16 - IEM Seed Funding Leads to $3 Million R01 for Brenda Ogle

An IEM Exploratory Grant in 2014 has led to a $3 Million R01 grant for which IEM Member Dr. Brenda A. Ogle, Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering, is a Principal Investigator. The IEM grant "provided funds to support preliminary experiments that led to the R01 submission," says Dr. Ogle, who is collaborating with former IEM Executive Committee Member Dr. Jianyi Zhang, now Chair of the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Alabama-Birmingham. The R01 grant "Stem Cell Therapy for Myocardial Repair" will explore the use of 3D printing of replacement grafts to repair the heart tissue of patients who have experienced myocardial infarction. Dr. Ogle says that "if successful, 3D printing of cardiac tissues will improve outcomes of acute cardiac injury and will inform prospects for generating intact organs."

07/27/16 - Visible Heart Lab is Stimulating Environment for Students

The IEM-Affiliated Visible Heart Laboratory has evolved into becoming a great place for students to learn about cardiac anatomy and harness the capabilities of 3D printing. As reported by the Minnesota Daily, the lab, which was established in 1997, has been at the forefront of heart research, including the reanimation of human hearts. Approximately 45 students work in the lab, and their enthusiasm for the research creates a very positive work environment. "It's the fun part about the job; it's really working with the young mind and talent; they keep things moving forward," says the Visible Heart Lab's Principal Investigator, Dr. Paul A. Iaizzo, Professor of Surgery and IEM Associate Director for Education and Outreach. More recently, the lab has become one of the 3-D printing hubs for clinical applications at the University of Minnesota. "We scan human hearts with CT and/ MRI and then we can create the digital models," says Dr. Iaizzo. "Once you've created the digital models, you might as well try and print 'em."

At Visible Heart Lab, Anatomy Gains New Perspective

07/27/16 - Kevin Peterson Contributes to NIH Practice Transformation Website

IEM Member Dr. Kevin A. Peterson, Professor of Family Medicine and Community Health and Director, Center for Excellence in Primary Care, was among a group of experts who contributed to the new Practice Transformation for Physicians and Health Care Teams website. Dr. Peterson was asked by the program director from the National Institutes of Health to help create the website, which focuses on the delivery of primary care to the more than 100 million Americans who have either diabetes or pre-diabetes. The stated rationale for the website and its sought transformation is that it will benefit health care practices "by preparing them for changing reimbursement models and by building a more satisfied and effective diabetes care delivery team."

NIH Practice Transformation for Physicians and Health Care Teams

07/27/16 - Alan Hirsch Discusses with KARE 11 Campaign for Use of Aspirin to Prevent Heart Attack and Stroke

IEM Member Dr. Alan T. Hirsch, Professor of Medicine, Epidemiology and Community Health, Director of the Vascular Medicine Program and Co-Director of the Minnesota Heart Health Program, discussed with KARE 11, the "Ask about Aspirin" campaign for the prevention of heart attack and stroke. Dr. Hirsch says that, for individuals between the ages of 50 and 69, taking a daily low-dose aspirin can lower the risk of heart attack or stroke by 20%, resulting in as many as 11,000 to 12,000 fewer of these incidents over the lifetime of those who might benefit from the campaign in Minnesota. Dr. Hirsch, noting that aspirin use has both benefit and risk, advises that all individuals know their individual benefit and risk, and first discuss this approach with their primary care physician. "Aspirin is usually safe and effective," says Dr. Hirsch, "but has to be right for the individual. What should you do?: 'Ask about aspirin!'".

Ask About Aspirin Campaign to Prevent Heart Attack and Stroke

07/27/16 - Douglas Yee Discusses Cancer Moonshot Summit with MPR

IEM Member Dr. Douglas Yee, Professor of Medicine and Pharmacology and Director of the Masonic Cancer Center, discussed with MPR the Cancer Moonshot Summit, which was held at sites throughout the nation on June 29th. The University of Minnesota hosted one of the largest regional sites, with nearly 500 attendees. Dr. Yee attended the event's main site in Washington, D.C. at the invitation of Vice President Joe Biden's office. While there have been major efforts to fight cancer in the past, Dr. Yee says that now is a good time for the Moonshot effort due to the ability of researchers to collaborate through to the use of electronic sharing of data and recent advancements in the field of genomics, allowing researchers to "make progress where we could never have done this before."

MPR News: Cancer Moonshot Summit
University of Minnesota Cancer Moonshot

07/27/16 - Gwenyth Fischer Discusses Life-Saving Pulse Oximeter Neonatal Screening with Pioneer Press

IEM Member Dr. Gwenyth Fischer, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, discussed with the Pioneer Press the use of pulse oximeters on newborns to detect potentially life-threatening congenital heart defects so that they can be treated. While the technology has been used in pediatrics for decades, it has more recently become commonplace in the U.S. as a screening tool for congenital heart disease, largely due to the efforts of Minnesotan Annamarie Saarinen, who lobbied the federal government to make pulse oximeter neonatal screening mandatory. Dr. Fischer says that the technology has made a significant impact, as she "can personally attest to several babies caught here with congenital heart disease before they left, potentially saving them from disaster." Ms. Saarinen has since worked with a California-based company to develop a portable and affordable mobile version of the technology to make it viable for screening newborns in developing nations, where its use is being supported by the Newborn Foundation, a St. Paul-based nonprofit founded by Ms. Saarinen.

St. Paul Nonprofit on a Global Quest to Save Newborns

07/27/16 - Research Team Led by Louis Mansky Makes Significant Discovery about Uniqueness of Retrovirus Structures

A team led by IEM Member Dr. Louis M. Mansky, Professor of Diagnostic & Biological Sciences and Microbiology & Immunology and Director of the Institute for Molecular Virology, has discovered that the structures of retroviruses tend to be distinctive from one another, which has significant implications for future retrovirus research. As reported in Science Daily, Dr. Mansky says "most researchers assume that all retroviruses are just like HIV, but they're not. We cannot take a one-size-fits-all approach when studying retroviruses and discovering new strategies for antiviral treatments or vaccines." Dr. Mansky hopes that the findings will serve as a foundation from which scientists can "determine how to stop these viruses from causing deadly diseases in humans such as cancer and AIDS."

Distinct Differences in Structure, Features of Retroviruses

07/27/16 - SpaceX-9 Mission Includes Bruce Hammer's Experiment to Evaluate Accuracy of CMRR Microgravity Simulator

On July 17th, the SpaceX-9 mission successfully launched a rocket toward the International Space Station containing a research experiment from IEM Member Dr. Bruce E. Hammer, Professor of Radiology at the Center for Magnetic Resonance Research (CMRR). As reported in Space Online , the experiment will test the accuracy of a device at the CMRR that simulates microgravity for researching bone loss in space, by evaluating changes in bone cells in the microgravity environment of the low-Earth-orbiting space station. The results will then be matched with those of the same experiments performed at the CMRR, to determine if the simulator's microgravity environment is sufficient for this research. If so, it will provide a ground-based platform to study how simulated microgravity affects cell function. Doing experiments aboard the ISS is difficult due to crew time availability, limited access, cost and logistics required to bring a payload to and from low earth orbit. "When you're doing experiments on Earth that simulate microgravity, you're in a much better-controlled environment," says Dr. Hammer.

06/27/16 - IEM Director Named Recipient of the Prestigious IEEE Biomedical Engineering Award

Dr. Bin He, Director of the Institute for Engineering in Medicine, Distinguished McKnight University Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Medtronic-Bakken Endowed Chair for Engineering in Medicine, has been named the recipient of 2017 IEEE Biomedical Engineering Award for outstanding contributions to biomedical engineering, according to IEEE President Barry L. Shoop. IEEE is one of the largest professional organizations in the world with 400,000+ members. This Award is given annually to an individual, a team or multiple recipients up to three in number, for exceptional achievements and outstanding contributions, which have made impacts on the profession of biomedical engineering and society. Dr. He is cited for his significant contributions to neuroengineering and neuroimaging. This is the highest IEEE award in biomedical engineering given to a member(s) or non-member(s).

06/27/16 - Stephen Haines Featured on KSTP for Treatment of Young Patient with Brain Condition

IEM Member Dr. Stephen J. Haines, Professor and Department Head of Neurosurgery, was featured in a KSTP story for his treatment of a patient with Hydrocephalus, referred to as "water on the brain," an incurable condition that affects more than one million Americans. "If for some reason you make more spinal fluid than you absorb back into your blood stream, the fluid will build up and cause increased pressure in the head," says Dr. Haines. His patient, an eight-year-old boy, developed the potentially life-threatening condition following a premature birth. Dr. Haines can treat Hydrocephalus by either popping the membrane that holds the fluid or by installing shunts, and for this patient, he installed two shunts that will connect together and drain the fluid to the child's belly. The patient and his family established a foundation and organized a golf tournament to support Hydrocephalus research and increase awareness of the condition.

Hydrocephalus Treatment; Water-on-the-Brain Awareness Golf

06/27/16 - Walter Low & Dan Garry Discuss with BBC & CNN Use of Chimeras for Transplant

IEM Members Dr. Walter C. Low, Professor of Neurosurgery, and Dr. Daniel Garry, Professor of Medicine and Director of the Lillehei Heart Institute, discussed with the BBC and CNN research on the growing of human organs in pigs to be used for transplant, and the issues associated with it. Dr. Low says that the technique could potentially be used to create a number of different types of organs and cells, including pancreas, heart, liver, kidney, lung, cornea, and immune cells; and that "the organs and cells would be exact genetic copies, but much younger and healthier versions, and you would not need to take immunosuppressive drugs which carry side-effects." Dr. Garry states that these personalized humanized organs in gene-edited animals would provide new pre-clinical research models that would be invaluable to study the impact of emerging therapies and disease progression.

However, the NIH has banned funding this research due to concerns of the resulting chimeras developing human cognitive states. Dr. Garry objects to the ban due to its inhibition of medical progress and the creation of a stigma associated with the research. And Dr. Low says that this risk can be avoided. "We can address this issue by examining the brains from each type of chimera that is generated to produce a specific type of organ. For example, if in generating liver chimeras we observe that the pre-term brains also exhibit substantial off-target contribution to areas such as frontal cortex then these fetuses would not be allowed to be born."

CNN: Human Organs Grown in Pigs May Help Transplant Patients
BBC: U.S. Bid to Grow Human Organs for Transplant Inside Pigs

06/27/16 - Jakub Tolar Featured in Ottawa Sun for Treatment of Child Suffering from Severe Skin Disease

Dr. Jakub Tolar, Professor of Pediatrics, Director of the Stem Cell Institute and IEM Member, will treat a child from Canada who suffers from Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB), a rare and potentially-fatal skin disease. As reported by the Ottawa Sun, the child, who's nicknamed "Butterfly Boy," will travel to the University of Minnesota to have a blood and bone marrow transplant as part of a clinical trial being led by Dr. Tolar. "The advantage of bone marrow transplant is that you don't just treat a single patch of skin: This is a whole body approach," says Dr. Tolar. While he warns that the treatment doesn't work for all patients, it can have a very positive impact when it does work. "You can go from a kid who is in constant pain, who is wheelchair bound, who has bandages changed for several hours, to someone who goes to school, to the beach, plays in the orchestra, and goes on with his life," says Dr. Tolar.

Butterfly Boy off to U.S. for Therapy

06/27/16 - David Largaespada Co-Founds Gene Editing Company

IEM Member Dr. David A. Largaespada, Professor of Genetics, Cell Biology, and Development has co-founded B-MoGen Biotechnologies Inc., a gene editing company. As reported in Inquiry, the company is developing a molecular "processor" to enable more complex genome engineering, which will make it possible for scientists to identify rare edited cells, speeding up the process of gene editing. In addition, the company is pioneering new non-viral gene delivery systems. "We anticipate these technologies could help researchers develop better cell-based therapies," says Dr. Largaespada. "For example, it could make it easier to take immune cells from patients and insert genes that make them into efficient cancer killers." The company also utilizes the Sleeping Beauty (SB) transposon system to deliver genes to targeted cells for research, a technology developed by IEM Member Dr. Perry Hackett.

Startup Contributes to Growing Statewide Gene Editing Industry

06/27/16 - Brenda Ogle Receives the 2016 Mullen-Spector-Truax Women's Leadership Award

Dr. Brenda A. Ogle, Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering and IEM Member, has received the 2016 Mullen-Spector-Truax Women's Leadership Award for her significant impact on women's leadership development at the University and the potential for long-term sustainability of the programs and initiatives she has led, including the Women's Faculty Cabinet in the Provost's office, for which she serves as co-Chair. The Mullen/Spector/Truax Endowment was established in 1997 to provide funds for the Mullen/Spector/Truax Women's Leadership Award given annually to a faculty or staff woman at the University who has made outstanding contributions to women's leadership development. Dr. Ogle's research program investigates the mechanisms of stem cell differentiation with a goal of generating new technologies that advance stem cell biology and promote translation of stem cell research into clinical practice.

Brenda Ogle Receives Mullen-Spector-Truax Award

05/31/16 - Neuroengineering IGERT Outreach Efforts Impact Nearly 2,000 Minnesota Elementary and High School Students

Trainees and associates within the Neuroengineering National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT) Program have led 21 separate outreach efforts that have reached 1,975 elementary and high school students in Minnesota. The purpose of these efforts is to promote STEM awareness and have students gain a better appreciation of the brain, the neuroscience behind how we learn, and how fundamental technological advances are changing how we interface with the brain to treat various brain disorders.

The IGERT program is supported by a $3 Million NSF grant and was initiated by the IEM-affiliated Center for Neuroengineering (CNE). It is managed by the Department of Biomedical Engineering with trainees from biomedical engineering, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, and neuroscience graduate programs. Dr. Bin He, Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Director of IEM and CNE, is the Principal Investigator and IGERT Director. Dr. Theoden I. Netoff, IEM member and Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering is Director of Outreach of the IGERT Program.

University of Minnesota Neuroengineering IGERT Program

05/31/16 - Michael Garwood Co-Assigned Patent with Mayo Clinic Researchers on Improved Imaging for Alzheimer’s Detection

IEM Member Dr. Michael Garwood, Professor of Radiology-CMRR, has been co-assigned a patent with collaborators from the Mayo Clinic on a new Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) method that allows for the non-invasive detection of amyloid plaques that are characteristic of Alzheimer’s Disease. As reported by Twin Cities Business, the technology makes it possible to visualize and quantify the numbers of microscopic plaques in the living brain, which could lead to earlier diagnosis, provide a tool to assess disease progression, and facilitate the development and validation of effective treatment for the disease.

Mayo Patent Watch

05/31/16 - Xiao-Hong Zhu Participates in Research to Explore Potential Treatment for Concussion

Dr. Xiao-Hong Zhu, Associate Professor of Radiology-CMRR, and IEM Member is collaborating with the Mayo Clinic to study the potential benefits of Nicotinamide Riboside (NR) in treating concussions. As reported by the Rochester Post-Bulletin, Dr. Zhu and Dr. Brent Bauer of Mayo will perform evaluations of the test subjects, collegiate football linemen who have reported no more than two career-related concussions. The evaluations, which will be conducted before and after the drug or a placebo are administered to the participants, will include the measurement of neurologic factors and brain activity. The findings could potentially be used to manage the treatment traumatic brain injury resulting from football and other causes.

Mayo Clinic, U. of M. Eye New Frontier in Managing Football-Related Concussions

05/31/16 - Ann Van de Winckel Awarded Grant-in-Aid by OVPR

IEM Member Dr. Ann Van de Winckel, PhD, MSc, PT, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation's Program in Physical Therapy, has been awarded a Grant-in-Aid of Research, Artistry, and Scholarship (GIA) from the Office of the Vice President for Research of the University of Minnesota for her study titled "Correlational Analysis and Functional Connectivity between Brain Lesions and Sensorimotor Impairments in Stroke." As stated on the OVPR’s website, "GIA funds are awarded in the belief that the quality of faculty research or artistic endeavors is a major determinant of the overall vitality of the institution" and "to act as seed money for developing projects to the point of attracting more complete, external funding."

Grant-in-Aid of Research, Artistry and Scholarship

05/31/16 - Members Co-Organize 2nd Annual Midwest Tumor Microenvironment Meeting

Several IEM Members co-organized the 2nd Annual Midwest Tumor Microenvironment Meeting, held May 18th to 20th at the University’s McNamara Alumni Center and hosted by the Masonic Cancer Center. The organizers included Drs. James B. McCarthy, Professor of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology; Paolo P. Provenzano, Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering; Kaylee Schwertfeger, Associate Professor of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology; and David K. Wood, Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering. The goal of the conference, which was co-sponsored by IEM, is "to leverage the strength of tumor microenvironment researchers in the Midwest to re-engineer the tumor microenvironment to improve tumor therapy/normalize the tumor microenvironment."

05/31/16 - Students of IEM Members Receive Outstanding Basic Science Presentation Awards

Students of IEM Members received "Outstanding Basic Science Presentation" awards at the 10th Annual Sickle Cell Disease Research and Educational Symposium and 39th National Sickle Cell Disease Scientific Meeting, which was held April 15th to 18th in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Huy Tran ("Gender-specific Analgesic Effect of Serotonin-Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitor in Sickle Mice,"), Dr. Megan Uhelski ("Sensitization of C-fiber nociceptors in a murine model of SCD is decreased by the inhibition of anandamide hydrolysis through local administration of URB59,") and Dr. Ying Wang ("Acupuncture Analgesia in Sickle Mice"), are students of Dr. Kalpna Gupta, Professor of Medicine and Co-Chair of IEM Molecular and Cellular Bioengineering Theme. Dr. Uhelski is also a student of IEM Member Dr. Donald A. Simone, Professor and Department Chair and Division Director, Department of Diagnostic and Biological Sciences. Michele Case ("Resting state network connectivity analysis of patients with sickle cell disease using fMRI data") is a student of IEM Director, Dr. Bin He, Professor of Biomedical Engineering.

05/31/16 - Tay Netoff and Matt Johnson Awarded NSF REU Grant

IEM Members Dr. Theoden I. Netoff, Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Dr. Matthew D. Johnson, Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering, have been awarded an NSF Research Experience for Undergrads (REU) grant on Neural Systems Engineering. This program will support 8 undergraduates for a 10-week summer training program starting this summer. This REU program was organized by the IEM affiliated Center for Neuroengineering (CNE) with CNE members Hubert Lim and Bin He as Co-Investigators, and will partner with the IGERT systems neuroengineering training program to enhance UMN's interdisciplinary Neuroengineering program. These undergraduates will work with graduate students over the summer on short projects to deepen their understanding of science and graduate school. Students selected for this program are from all over the United States, with particular emphasis on underrepresented minorities and students from small schools.

04/29/16 - Record Attendance at Minnesota Neuromodulation Symposium

The 4th Minnesota Neuromodulation Symposium attracted 483 registrants to its two-day event, which was organized by IEM and held at the Commons Hotel on April 14th and 15th. The globally-recognized event featured plenary, invited and highlight talks, and panel discussions by the leaders of the neuromodulation field, from academia, government, and industry. In addition, there were close to 100 poster presentations representing 37 different institutions, 18 non-profit organizations, 10 corporations and 12 countries.

The groundbreaking research of two of the Symposium presenters has made national news in April. Plenary speaker Dr. Alvaro Pascual-Leone of Harvard University was featured on NPR's Fresh Air on April 21st for his work in utilizing transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) for treating patients with autism. Among the highlight talks and posters presented was "Implanted Brain Computer Interface for Real-Time Cortical Control of Hand Movements in a Human with Quadriplegia," research that was featured in the New York Times during the same week and published in the April 13th online edition of the journal Nature.

"The quality of presentations at the symposium represents one of the finest conferences in the world. The success of the symposium reflects the emerging nature of the neuromodulation field and the leading positions of the University of Minnesota and Minnesota neuromodulation industry," said Dr. Bin He, Symposium Chair and Director of the Institute for Engineering in Medicine.

Minnesota Neuromodulation Symposium
2016 Poster and Travel Award Winners
MNS 2016 Photos

04/29/16 - Design of Medical Devices Conference Celebrates its 15th Anniversary

The 15th Anniversary Design of Medical Devices Conference (DMD) was held from April 11th to 14th at the Commons Hotel, McNamara Alumni Center and TCF Bank Stadium. As reported by KARE 11, the theme of this year's event was 3D and biological printing, and the conference also included numerous sessions on a variety of other topics, including wearable technologies for home healthcare applications and a live-stream of a surgery performed in Pennsylvania. DMD Conference Chair Dr. Arthur G. Erdman, Director of the IEM-affiliated Medical Devices Center, says that DMD is held in the optimal location: "What better place than Minnesota, where we have the highest density of medical device companies in the world."

Design of Medical Devices Conference
U. of M. Hosts Medical Device Conference

04/29/16 - IEM Hosts Shanghai Jiao Tong University Delegation

The Institute for Engineering in Medicine (IEM) hosted a faculty delegation in medical engineering from the Med-X Institute of Shanghai Jiao Tong University (SJTU), China, that visited IEM-affiliated centers and labs on March 28th and 29th. IEM also co-hosted and co-organized with University of Minnesota's China Center a welcome banquet for the delegation. that included University of Minnesota Executive Vice President and Provost Dr. Karen Hanson, SJTU Vice President Lisa Xu, and 41 faculty members and deans from both universities. IEM has cultivated key relationships and helped develop research collaborations with SJTU's Med-X Institute, the School of Biomedical Engineering, as well as biomedical and engineering faculty at the University of Minnesota for many years. The workshop focused upon expanding future research collaborations at the nexus of engineering with medicine, and was co-moderated by Dr. Bin He, IEM Director and Professor of Biomedical Engineering. Another important aspect of SJTU's visit focused upon student exchanges and a new, dual-degree program in sports management between the two universities.

SJTU Delegation Visits UMN

04/29/16 - 3-D Modeling Plays a Vital Role in TAVR Success; Shows Promise for Wide Range of Medical Procedures

The Laboratory of Dr. Paul A. Iaizzo, Professor of Surgery and IEM Associate Director for Education and Outreach, collaborated with cardiologist Dr. Gregory A. Helmer to generate a 3-D model of a patient's heart to find the optimal size for replacement of her aortic valve. Having the right sized valve was particularly critical to the success of this transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) procedure performed at the University of Minnesota Medical Center. Such modeling performed by Dr. Iaizzo's team at the IEM-affiliated Visible Heart Lab continues to show the promise for such technologies to improve patient outcomes in a variety of procedures. "We hope that for clinical teams to have such a resource like this at the University will be something that will ultimately improve care delivery," says Dr. Iaizzo.

To Repair Karlie's Weakened Heart Surgeons Turn to 3d Printer

04/29/16 - Mind-Controlled Drone Race Utilizes Technology First Demonstrated by IEM Director

The University of Florida hosted last weekend what was billed as the first-ever race between mind-controlled drones, utilizing a technology that was first demonstrated at the University of Minnesota in 2013 by Dr. Bin He, Director of IEM and Center for Neuroengineering and Professor of Biomedical Engineering. As reported by the Associated Press, The race, which was held in an indoor basketball court, involved 16 "pilots" who strove to fly a drone through a 10-yard course. Dr. He's group demonstrated in 2013 mind-controlled drone flying in a gym on the campus of the University of Minnesota, which stimulated a number of world-wide efforts on non-medical application of brain-computer interface (BCI). Organizers of the race are seeking to make BCI more mainstream, by having it used for everyday tasks, beyond laboratory settings and medical applications, a future that is becoming more viable as BCI equipment becomes more affordable. "The progress of the BCI field has been faster than I had thought ten years ago. We are getting closer and closer to broad application," says Dr. He.

Mind-controlled Drone Race
Mind Over Mechanics

04/29/16 - Douglas Yee Working to Efficiently Evaluate Breast Cancer Drugs

IEM Member Dr. Douglas Yee, Professor of Medicine and Director of the Masonic Cancer Center, serves on the Executive Committee and is Co-Chair of the Agent Committee of the I-SPY2 clinical trial, which has successfully evaluated several breast cancer drugs simultaneously, with three of those now progressing to the next phase of testing. This approach is unique from that of most clinical trials, in which drugs are tested one at a time, and it saves a lot of time in a process that typically lasts for five or more years for each drug. "To me, it demonstrates that we can identify active agents that are effective in the treatment of breast cancer in a much shorter timeline," says Dr. Yee. The multi-center trial has tested 15 chemotherapy drugs since it began in 2010, and focuses on both the effectiveness of the various drugs as part of a chemotherapy regimen prior to surgery and matched to the molecular profile of a patient's tumor so that the most effective of the drugs can be used for each patient. An arm of the trial is being developed to switch the drug for patients who don't respond sufficiently to their initially matched treatment.

Research Efficiency

04/29/16 - Roni Evans Discusses Challenge of Studying Chronic Pain's Impact on Young Adults in Story Picked Up by Associated Press

IEM Member Dr. Roni L. Evans, Associate Professor, Center for Spirituality and Healing, recently discussed the challenges of researching chronic pain in young adults with the Minnesota Daily, a story that was reported by the Associated Press and also ran in the Star Tribune and MPR. Chronic pain is reported by approximately one-quarter of people 18 to 29 years of age, and can significantly affect their lives by limiting them from activities they enjoy and isolating them socially. But studying pain in young adults can be challenging due to the subjective nature of measuring it. Dr. Evans says that "You can't see that someone has pain. It's not like a broken leg or a broken arm; it is something that someone experiences, so you really have to rely on what they're telling you...and that makes it hard to study."

Young and Aching: U. of M. Students Suffer from Chronic Pain

04/29/16 - Bruce KenKnight Receives Outstanding Achievement Award

IEM Industrial Fellow Dr. Bruce H. KenKnight received the Outstanding Achievement Award, the University of Minnesota's highest recognition for alumni. The award is conferred "on graduates or former students of the University who have attained unusual distinction in their chosen fields or professions or in public service, and who have demonstrated outstanding achievement and leadership on a community, state, national, or international level." Dr. KenKnight has had a medical technology career spanning 30 years and holds more than 250 patents worldwide. He has made substantial contributions to the University of Minnesota by serving in several advisory roles and has been Adjunct Professor of Biomedical Engineering since 2001.

Outstanding Achievement Award

04/29/16 - Jeffrey McCullough Discusses Zika Virus in New York Times

Dr. J. Jeffrey McCullough, Professor of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology, American Red Cross Professor of Transfusion Medicine, and IEM Member discussed with the New York Times the logistical challenges of keeping the Zika virus from contaminating blood supplies in effected areas. The FDA approved a new test to screen donated blood, which is needed to avoid the contamination of blood supplies as the virus spreads into the U.S. Without such screening, blood banks in areas most likely to be hit with outbreaks, such as the Gulf Coast states, would have had to import supplies from northern states not yet effected by the virus. "It is logistically difficult, but it can be done," said Dr. McCullough. But the new screening test, which will be initially implemented in Puerto Rico, will help to newly-effected areas to avoid that situation.

Zika Virus Blood Test Puerto Rico

03/29/16 - Kelvin Lim Discusses Traumatic Brain Injury's Psychological Impacts and Treatment Strategies

IEM Executive Committee Member Dr. Kelvin O. Lim, Professor and Vice Chair for Research of the Department of Psychiatry, discusses in MinnPost the long-term psychological impact of traumatic brain injury (TBI) and new treatment strategies to address it. TBI, which is often the result of car accidents or combat, can lead to behavioral changes and depression as connections between neurons are damaged, disrupted or disconnected. One of the treatment strategies being explored by Dr. Lim is the mapping of brain-circuit abnormalities and determining whether those can be addressed with transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), which will be investigated in a new study conducted at the VA. The effectiveness of TMS and other stimulation techniques to treat TBI is "of great interest to us here at the university," says Dr. Lim.

Psychological Impact of Brain Injury can be Long-Lasting

03/29/16 - FDA Releases New Guidance for Neurological Devices

On March 4th, the FDA released draft guidance on considerations for "Medical devices intended to slow, stop, or reverse the effects of neurological disease face challenges with regard to collecting safety and efficacy data in a clinical study, when less invasive pharmacotherapy approaches may be better understood or more-well accepted in the clinical community." As reported by the Regulatory Affairs Professionals Society, the guidance can apply to devices that treat the progression of neurological diseases, such as Parkinson's, Alzheimer's and primary dystonia. The agency's statement says that "study designs should aim to distinguish between symptomatic benefit(s) and disease-altering benefit(s) that slow disease progression and quantify the magnitude of such benefits in terms of biomarkers and clinical outcome assessments."

Neurological Device Trials: FDA Offers Draft Guidance
FDA Announcement on Neurological Devices

03/29/16 - Richard James Proposes Using Twisted X-Rays for Structure Determination

IEM Member Dr. Richard D. James, Professor of Aerospace Engineering and Mechanics, and his colleagues have discovered that twisted X-rays could be used as a better method of performing X-ray crystallography in materials science and biology research. As reported by the International Union of Crystallography, twisted X-rays could better define yet-unknown helical structures than traditional approaches as many of these structures "do not readily crystallize as three-dimensional periodic structures," and the process of crystallization can alter materials. The twisted X-rays could overcome these limitations by "matching the symmetry of the incoming radiation to the symmetry of the structure to be studied." Dr. James says that he and his students are now investigating how to build a source for twisted X-rays, which is challenging because the ability to manipulate X-rays is limited.

Twisted X Rays Unravel the complexity of Helical Structures

03/29/16 - Andrew Grande Treats Painful Nerve Condition with Surgery

IEM Member Dr. Andrew W. Grande, Assistant Professor, Neurosurgery and Co-director of the University of Minnesota's Earl Grande Stroke and Stem Cell Laboratory, performs a surgical procedure to address Trigeminal Neuralgia (TN), a very painful nerve condition. While most of the approximately 150,000 patients diagnosed with TN each year in the U.S. can be treated with medication, some require brain surgery to relieve the pain. One such patient is a mother of four from Hudson, Wisconsin, who's experience with the condition and successful surgery by Dr. Grande are profiled in the Hudson Star- Observer. The surgical procedure, called microvascular decompression, relieves pressure on the trigeminal nerve.

Hudson Mother Comes Back from Debilitating Pain

03/29/16 - Emil Lou Discusses Aspirin's Ability to Reduce Cancer Risk

Dr. Emil Lou, Assistant Professor of Medicine and IEM Member, discussed the findings of a recent study published in JAMA Oncology showing that regular use of aspirin can lower a person's cancer risk. As reported by the Academic Health Center's publication Health Talk, the research was based on data from large, decades-long studies of 88,000 women and 47,000 men. The impact was most significant for gastrointestinal cancers, including a 19% reduction for colorectal cancer. Aspirin use to achieve this reduction resulted from taking from .5 to 1.5 tablets per week for a minimum of 6 years. Dr. Lou says that the study "represents one of the most comprehensive studies to date supporting regular aspirin use as a low-cost intervention to help decrease the risk of gastrointestinal cancers."

Benefits of Aspirin May Include Lower Cancer Risk

03/29/16 - IEM Members Offering Cell-Based Therapy Training to University of Minnesota Physicians and Scientists

IEM Executive Committee Member Dr. Allison Hubel, Professor of Mechanical Engineering, and IEM Member David H. McKenna, Jr., Associate Professor of Lab Medicine and Pathology, are directing the Hematology Workforce Training Program, which seeks to directly address the growing need for researchers with cell-based therapy skills. "The ability to treat all of the millions of patients who would benefit from these therapies is limited in part by the lack of trained physicians and scientists in this field," says Dr. Hubel. Funded by an NIH Research Education Program (R25) grant, this short-term training program is customized to a trainee's specific needs and interests and involves both one-month rotations and a research project that are customized to the trainee's career needs. The program is actively recruiting new trainees.

Hematology Workforce Training Program

02/29/16 - Paul Iaizzo Discusses 3-D Printing in Washington Post

Dr. Paul A. Iaizzo, Professor of Surgery and IEM Associate Director for Education and Outreach, discusses the application of 3-D printing of hearts to surgery, medical device design and education in a recent edition of the Washington Post. The surgical applications include the printing of a model heart prior to surgery to help the patient and family members better understand the situation and provide them with the peace-of-mind that comes from understanding it. "It's powerful and comforting for parents to really understand what the problem is," says Dr. Iaizzo. The educational applications include the use of printed hearts for surgical residents and students in the medical school, which Dr. Iaizzo says "puts that anatomy in the brain in a three-dimensional way that never could have been done another way."

How 3-D Imaging Could Change Heart Surgery in the Future

02/29/16 - John Bischof Discusses Organ Preservation in Economist

John C. Bischof, Professor of Mechanical Engineering and IEM Associate Director for Development, has a proposed solution to one of the major challenges of warming cryopreserved organs: heating the tissue quickly and uniformly enough to avoid the damage that would occur from the crystallization or cracking (fracture) that would otherwise occur during the process. Dr. Bischof's approach is to apply tiny (nano) particles of magnetite to the cryoprotectant fluid that bathes the organ, then heat them and the organ by placing the system in a fluctuating magnetic field, an approach he has successfully tested on heart valves and arteries. It is one of several approaches presented in a recent Economist article to allow for the better cooling and warming of organs to achieve the ultimate objective of making many more of them available for transplantation.

Wait Not in Vain

02/29/16 - Louis Mansky's Research Could Lead to More Affordable HIV Drugs

IEM Member Dr. Louis M. Mansky, Chair of the Department of Diagnostic and Biological Sciences and Director of the Institute for Molecular Virology, was the lead author of a recent study showing how an RNA-based nucleoside, 5-aza-C, blocked the ability of HIV to spread. As reported in Infection Control Today, this could lead to more affordable HIV medications because RNA-based drugs can be produced in large quantities at a lower cost than most currently available HIV drugs, which are DNA-based. Dr. Mansky says that while 5-aza-C is not as effective at treating HIV as those current drugs,"we can use what we know to try mimicking 5-aza-C to discover new compounds that could be more effective while still being more affordable to produce." The study is being published in the American Society for Microbiology's journal Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy.

Study Identifies Mechanism for Drug Target to Help Block HIV's Ability to Spread

02/29/16 - Research by John Osborn Shows that Drug-Resistant High Blood Pressure can be Controlled by Renal Denervation

Dr. John Osborn, Professor of Integrative Biology & Physiology, and IEM Member, was the lead investigator of a study showing that drug-resistant hypertension can be treated by completely ablating nerves to the kidneys. As reported by Medical Xpress, the research shows that arterial blood pressure was lowered when both efferent and afferent nerves between the brain and kidneys were ablated, but not when ablating only the afferent nerves. As a result, Dr. Osborn says that, "Although catheter-based renal nerve ablation is now possible, catheter design needs to be improved since present catheters appear only to partially denervate the kidney. Clearly, it is also important to develop a method to assess the completeness of denervation at the time of the procedure." The research was published in the American Journal of Physiology-Regulatory, Integrative, and Comparative Physiology.

Rat Renal Denervation Drug-Resistant Hypertension

02/29/16 - David Jacobs Conducts Research Showing that Environmental Contaminants in Low Doses Can Harm the Brain

IEM Member Dr. David R. Jacobs, Professor of Epidemiology & Community Health, was among a group of investigators who conducted research showing that persons who are repeatedly exposed to organochlorine pesticides (OCPs), such as DDT, are at greater risk for cognitive impairment. As reported by EurekAlert!, the research included approximately 1,000 individuals at 70 years of age in Uppsala, Sweden. Those with high levels of OCPs in their serum were found to have had three times the risk of future cognitive impairment compared to others who had low levels of the containments. While OCPs were already known to be neurotoxins, the findings are surprising because it shows that even a low level of exposure to OCPs can be harmful if it occurs during a long period of time. The research was published in Environmental International.

Low-Dose Exposure of Environmental Contaniments Can Be Harmful to Brain

02/29/16 - Walter Low and Ann Parr Discuss Relevance of Fetal Tissue to their Research in Treating Parkinson's and Spinal Cord Injury

IEM Members Drs. Walter Low and Ann Parr discuss the importance of fetal tissue to their research in a recent Star Tribune article highlighting the work of several University of Minnesota researchers who are using these types of cells. Walter C. Low, Professor of Neurosurgery, uses them as a positive control against which to assess the effective phenotype of differentiated stem cells from sources other than fetal tissue. "Our goal is to one day take a piece of your skin and make that into a pluripotent stem cell ... that makes dopamine neurons for treating Parkinson's patients," says Dr. Low. A more direct use of fetal tissue stem cells is being explored by Dr. Ann M. Parr, Assistant Professor of Neurosurgery and Director of Spinal Neurosurgery, who is determining whether they can be used to repair damage to the spinal cord. "There are lots and lots of people out there who have chronic spinal cord injury and there is nothing to offer them" says Dr. Parr, who adds "it's the first time this has been a possibility."

From HIV to Parkinson's U. Researchers Say Fetal Tissue is Invaluable

01/29/16 - Bob Tranquillo's Pediatric Heart Valve Research Featured on KARE11

The pediatric heart valve development by IEM Member Dr. Robert T. Tranquillo, Professor and Head of the Department of Biomedical Engineering, was recently featured on KARE 11. Dr. Tranquillo is using decellularized tissue tubes grown in the lab from adult skin cells to develop a pediatric heart valve that will grow as the child does, eliminating the need for multiple surgeries, as children outgrow currently-available heart valves. "Our goal is to create an option that requires only one surgery," says Dr. Tranquillo, who has tested the valve in animals and plans to soon approach the FDA about progressing to a human clinical trial for a replacement of the artery in which the valve resides.

U. of M. Researchers Work on Heart Valve for Kids

01/29/16 - Boston Scientific's Randy Schiestl Elected AIMBE Fellow

IEM Industrial Advisory Board Member Randy Schiestl, Vice President of R&D, Global Technology at Boston Scientific, has been elected to the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) College of Fellows, due to his "important contributions to the field of engineering." AIMBE Fellows are nominated by existing Fellows, peer-reviewed by the College's Selection Committee, then voted-on by the entire College. The AIMBE College of Fellows "is comprised of around 1,500 individuals who have made significant contributions to the medical and biological engineering (MBE) community in academia, industry, government, and education that have transformed the world" and represents the top 2% of medical and biological engineering professionals. Randy stated, "It is truly an honor to be recognized as an engineering professional and to be included among those recognized by the AIMBE College of Fellows."

AIMBE Fellows

01/29/16 - Pediatric Device Innovation Consortium Profiled by Star Tribune

The Pediatric Device Innovation Consortium (PDIC), founded by IEM Member Dr. Gwenyth Fischer, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, was profiled in the Star Tribune. The PDIC helps to shepherd the development of pediatric devices from their inception to their adoption by industry through grants and guidance to clear the regulatory, reimbursement and other hurdles that typically keep these devices from reaching the patients who need them. "What we'd like to do is take products as far as possible with university help, so that when they exit the university system into industry, they are much more likely to succeed," says Dr. Fischer. The University of Minnesota's Office of Discovery and Translation is providing approximately $250,000 in 2016 to support the PDIC's programs, including planned access to a pediatric device incubator and a program to solicit ideas from parents, in addition to engineers and physicians. The incubation will be done through collaboration with DesignWise Medical, founded by Bradley Slaker, current Innovation Fellow of the IEM-Affiliated Medical Devices Center.

University of Minnesota Volunteer Group Looks to Kick Start Development of Medical Devices for Kids

01/29/16 - Startup Evolving from Medical Devices Center's Innovation Fellows Raises $1.9 Million

A medical device startup that evolved from the research and development efforts of Innovation Fellows at the University of Minnesota's IEM-Affiliated Medical Devices Center (MDC) has raised $1.9 Million in a round of equity financing. As reported by the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business News, Andarta Medical is developing a device that reduces the amount of time patients need to be on ventilators. The Innovation Fellows who invented the technology include James Krocak, Dr. Jesus A. Cabrera and Dr. John Ballard, members of the classes of 2013 and 2014. Dr. Cabrera says, "The rapid maturation and evolution of Andarta Medical demonstrates that the MDC's Innovation Fellowship plays a strong role in the MedTech ecosystem in Minnesota."

University of Minnesota Andarta Breathing Spinoff

01/29/16 - Medical Devices Center's Virtual Reality Research Improves Medical Device Design and Physician Training

The 3D Virtual Prototyping Lab housed at the IEM-affiliated Medical Devices Center is making strong contributions to medical device design and has the potential to do the same for physician training. As profiled by the publication STAT, university researchers are developing interactive virtual reality design tools that combine scanned anatomy with supercomputer simulations. "We can say, 'Let's bring up a heart with calcifications,' and design a pacemaker or a valve for it," says Arthur Erdman, IEM Medical Device Theme Co-Chair and Director of the Medical Devices Center. IEM Member Dan Keefe, Associate Professor of Computer Science and Engineering and Director of the Interactive Visualization Lab, notes that VR can enable a whole new generation of user-friendly design tools for simulation-based engineering.

Virtual Reality Medical Device Testing

01/29/16 - Enhanced Neuron Imaging Technique Developed by Karen Mesce

IEM Member Dr. Karen A. Mesce, Professor of Neuroscience and Entomology, has developed a novel technique for the imaging of silver or gold-labeled tissue samples in a collaborative effort with colleagues at Agnes Scott College. As reported in the journal eLIFE, the new technique combines spectral confocal microscopy with the metal-staining of neurons. This results in neuronal tissue and cell specimens that are easily imaged in 3D and will allow for the re-imaging of older metal-impregnated samples that have been archived, even as imaging techniques continue to improve in the future. "The progression or stability of cancer or other disease could therefore be charted with accuracy over long periods of time," says Dr. Mesce.

Metal Labels Produce 3D Images of Neurons

01/29/16 - James Cloyd Named CTSI Mentor of the Year

IEM Member Dr. James Cloyd, Professor of Experimental and Clinical Pharmacology in the College of Pharmacy and Director of the Center for Orphan Drug Research, has been named CTSI Mentor of the year. The honor is driven by mentees who nominate their research mentors. Nominations are reviewed by a committee of senior faculty who have extensive experience with research mentoring. The mentees' nominations noted Dr. Cloyd's "multi-disciplinary and innovative, question-based approach, infectious passion, open-door policy, and belief in his mentees' abilities." Dr. Cloyd was honored at CTSI's Annual Scholar Poster Session and Reception on January 20th at the McNamara Alumni Center.

Dr. Cloyd Named 2015 CTSI Mentor of the Year

01/29/16 - Valerie Pierre Developing Urinary Tract Infection Diagnostic Tool

IEM Member Dr. Valerie C. Pierre, Associate Professor of Chemistry, is developing a new tool for fast, affordable diagnoses of urinary tract infections (UTIs), which affect nearly half of all women during their lives. Urine cultures have been the most accurate method to diagnose UTI's, but because they typically take 48 to 72 hours, and more urgent treatment is needed, the diagnoses are often based upon symptoms, which are not as reliable. Dr. Pierre's method aims to make a more accurate rapid diagnosis and assess the bacteria's antibiotic resistance to determine the best course of treatment. CTSI provided critical support to Dr. Pierre, including funding, guidance and the facilitation of her collaboration with the Mayo Clinic. A prototype of the tool is being tested on clinical samples and long-term plans include submitting it to the FDA for approval.

How CTSI is Helping One University Investigator Convert Her Idea for Real-World Tool for Diagnosing Infections

12/22/15 - Joan Bechtold Receives the 2016 Orthopaedic Research Society Women’s Leadership Award

Dr. Joan Bechtold, Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery and IEM Member, was selected as the recipient of the 2016 Orthopaedic Research Society's (ORS) Women's Leadership Award. This award is "given every year to recognize a woman biologist, clinician, or engineer who, throughout her professional lifetime, has made significant contributions to the understanding of the musculoskeletal system and musculoskeletal diseases and injuries. She will have also demonstrated outstanding leadership through service to the professional community and mentorship of colleagues and trainees." Dr. Bechtold, who is the past President of ORS, will be presented the award on Sunday March 6th at the 2016 Annual Meeting of the Orthopaedic Research Society in Orlando, Florida.

12/22/15 - Robert Sweet Receives the 2015 Cook Medical “Arthur” Award

IEM Member Dr. Robert M. Sweet, Associate Professor of Urology, and Director of the University of Minnesota's Center for Research in Education and Simulation Technologies (CREST), was awarded the 2015 Cook Medical Arthur Award at the 33rd Annual World Congress of Endourology, held in London this past October. WCE's award committee presents the Arthur award each year in honor of the lifetime achievements of world-renowned urologist Dr. Arthur D. Smith. The award is presented to an urologist who is within 10 years of completing residency or fellowship, and who has already achieved distinction through myriad contributions to the field of Endourology in research and teaching.

SLS Blog: Congratulations Dr. Robert Sweet

12/22/15 - IEM Seed Funding Leads to NSF Grant for Taner Akkin

Dr. Taner Akkin, Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering and IEM Member, was awarded with an NSF grant and funding from the Bob Allison Ataxia Research Center totaling $500,000 for his brain imaging research initially supported by an IEM seed grant. The research aims to develop an optical imaging technique to study the anatomical changes associated with spinocerebellar ataxia type 1 (SCA1), which is a fatal inherited neurodegenerative disease," and aims to "enable a comprehensive three-dimensional reconstruction of the brain and cerebellum, and support quantitative assessments on white matter content and circuitry." Dr. Akkin is performing this research with Dr. Harry T. Orr, Professor of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology and director of Institute for Translational Neuroscience.

National Science Foundation: NSF Historical Awards

12/22/15 - Henry Buchwald Inducted Into ACH Academies for Excellence

IEM Member Dr. Henry Buchwald, Professor of Surgery and Biomedical Engineering, was inducted into the Academic Health Center's Academy for Excellence in Health Research on November 16th. A component of the ACH's Academies for Excellence, the Academy for Excellence in Health Research "is intended to serve as the highest recognition of excellence in research by AHC faculty. Those selected have enhanced the research identity of the University of Minnesota through sustained nationally- and internationally-recognized biomedical or health-related research in their field." Dr. Buchwald is among three 2015 inductees and forty inductees since the Academy was initiated in 2003.

Health Talk: AHC Academies for Excellence

12/22/15 - IEM Members Working to Improve Recovery from Stroke

IEM Members Drs. Bin He, James Carey, and Andrew Grande were profiled by the University of Minnesota Foundation for their work in developing treatments that could help stroke patients to regain some of their functionality. Dr. Bin He, IEM Director and Professor of Biomedical Engineering, is exploring how the application of his Brain-Computer Interface (BCI) technology can restore this functionality by stimulating and reactivating the brain tissue that has been injured. Dr. James R. Carey, Professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, is exploring the approach of strengthening areas of the brain affected by stroke by temporarily inhibiting unaffected areas. Dr. Andrew W. Grande, Assistant Professor, Neurosurgery and Co-director of the University of Minnesota's Earl Grande Stroke and Stem Cell Laboratory, is exploring how genetically-reprogramming glial cells can transform them into mature neurons. These approaches can have a tremendous impact as approximately 800,000 Americans experience a stroke annually, and there are approximately 6.5 million stroke survivors in the U.S.

UMF: Better Together

12/22/15 - Stephen Haines & Samuel Levine Researching the Long-Term Results of Acoustic Neuroma-Removal Technique

IEM Members Drs. Stephen J. Haines and Samuel C. Levine are determining whether a technique of removing acoustic neuromas that seeks to preserve hearing and facial control, will work in the long-term. As reported by the University of Minnesota Foundation, the procedure significantly improved outcomes from what had been the standard procedure. Through this technique, "About 70 percent of our patients retained their hearing," says Dr. Stephen J. Haines, Professor and Department Head, Department of Neurosurgery and Lyle A. French Chair.

Drs. Haines and Levine started publishing their findings in 1993. Due to the longevity of their collaboration,the technique has now been performed for a long enough period of time to measure its effectiveness. "The thing that's powerful is when you get 25 to 30 years' worth of data," says Dr. Samuel C. Levine, a Professor in the departments of Neurosugery and Otolaryngology, who started the database from which the results are being studied. "If it turned out that we preserved hearing right after surgery, but it was all gone in five years, that wouldn't be a strong reason to have the operation," says Haines. "But if it's going to last the rest of their lives, it would make a huge difference in indication for the surgery. It made a big difference for Sally."

UMF: In the Long Run

12/22/15 - Trainees of Kalpna Gupta’s Laboratory Receive Abstract Achievement Award

Huy Tran and Dr. Jianxun Lei received "Abstract Achievement Awards" from the American Society of Hematology, during its meeting in Orlando, Florida, Dec 5th to 8th. Both are trainees of Dr. Kalpna Gupta, Professor of Medicine, Hematology, Oncology and Transplantation, and co-chair of the IEM Cellular and Molecular Bioengineering Theme. Awards were given for Huy Tran's abstract, "Induced Mast cell-extracellular traps impart resistance to therapy in a sickle microenvironment" and Dr. Lei's abstract, "Pharmacological inhibition of TLR4 reduces mast cell activation, neuroinflammation and hyperalgesia in sickle mice." These merit-based awards, in the amount of $500, are offered to "trainees who are chosen to present an abstract, of which they are the first and senior author and presenter, at the ASH annual meeting."

American Society of Hematology: 2015 Abstract Achievement Award Recipients

12/22/15 - David Jacobs Co-Authors Study Published in JAMA Psychiatry

Dr. David R. Jacobs, Professor of Epidemiology & Community Health, and IEM Member, was the co-author of a study published recently in "JAMA Psychiatry" that links television-watching and low levels of physical activity with lower cognitive function in midlife. The study followed more than 3,000 adults for 25 years, from early adulthood to midlife, addressing both their television viewing habits and levels of exercise at least three times per year. The study was also featured in "Ars Technica", which highlighted that the study is among the first to include the impact of television-watching and cardiorespiratory fitness on midlife cognitive function. According to that article, "these risk behaviors may be critical targets for prevention of cognitive aging even before middle age."

Ars Technica: TV-Binging Exercise-Skipping Linked to Poor Cognitive Function
JAMA Psychiatry: Effect of Early Patterns of Physical Activity and Television Viewing on Midlife Cognitive Function

12/22/15 - Ron Siegel and SuPing Lyu Edit Textbook on Drug-Device Combinations

Dr. Ronald A. Siegel, Professor of Pharmaceutics and IEM Member and Dr. SuPing Lyu, Senior Principal Scientist at Medtronic, and IEM Industrial Fellow were credited with editing the first edition of a new textbook published by Wiley, "Drug-device Combinations for Chronic Diseases." Released on November 4, 2015, and now available online this month, the textbook details "the concepts and technologies of drug-device combination products" and "includes case studies of important products that either significantly shape our technologies and thinking, or contribute to current healthcare practice."

Wiley: Drug-device Combinations for Chronic Diseases

12/22/15 - Hubert Lim Discusses the Effectiveness of Sound Therapy

Dr. Hubert H. Lim, Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Institute for Translational Neuroscience Scholar, and IEM Member, was interviewed by Minnesota CBS affiliate WCCO about the practice of sound therapy, which can be used to treat conditions commonly addressed by more traditional treatments, such as chiropractic intervention or massage therapy. Dr. Lim's lab is exploring if and how these types of physiological and neural effects can be systematically controlled to relieve certain disease symptoms or enhance other conventional treatments, leading to new directions in integrative medicine.

According to Dr. Lim, "it is clearly doing something in the body, in the brain. When you measure signals in the body you will see the heart rate will change, people will sweat or have chills for different types of sounds, so it is clearly causing a physiological neural effect."

CBS Minnesota: Ancient Treatment Sound Therapy Rediscovered in Minnesota

11/24/15 - IEM Launches Clinical Immersion Program

The Institute for Engineering in Medicine is pleased to announce the successful launch of its new Clinical Immersion Program, in which groups of engineers from medical technology companies visited the University of Minnesota in September and October. During the week-long program, the participants observed numerous surgical procedures and learned about the many challenges and unmet clinical needs associated with treating patients with heart disease, cancer, and other very serious conditions.

Hosted by the Department of Surgery, the program seeks to help engineers become more effective in developing leading-edge medical technologies. Among the participants was Dr. Aditee Kurane, an R&D manager at St. Jude Medical. "We got to see so many aspects of the clinical setting that we had no previous exposure to - grand rounds, listening to detailed case preparation by the surgical residents and most importantly, a variety of surgical procedures where the surgeons were so accommodating and explained details of the procedures to help us truly understand what was going on," said Dr. Kurane. IEM is currently organizing company groups for Spring 2016.

For more information, please email:

11/24/15 - 3rd Edition of "Cardiac Anatomy, Physiology and Devices" Includes Six New Chapters; Now Available Online

The third edition of "Cardiac Anatomy, Physiology and Devices" edited by Dr. Paul Iaizzo, Professor of Surgery and IEM Associate Director for Education and Outreach, is recently available. This new edition includes six new chapters and contributions from a number of physicians and industry experts.

"The major impetus for this third edition was to update this resource textbook for interested students, residents, clinicians, and/or practicing biomedical engineers. A secondary motivation was to promote the expertise, past and present, in the areas of cardiovascular science at the University of Minnesota," says Dr. Iaizzo, who adds that the third edition includes "state-of-the-art information on a variety of topics related to cardiac anatomy, physiology, and devices." The handbook is now available on-line, and can be accessed through the following link.

Springer: Cardiac Anatomy, Physiology and Devices

11/24/15 - Timothy Church and Douglas Yee Discuss New Breast Cancer Screening Guidelines

The American Cancer Society's new guidelines for breast cancer screening encourage women to make the decision on when, and how often, to go in for testing. Under the new guidelines, women of average risk are recommend to be screened annually starting at age 45, and then every other year starting at age 55. As reported in a story by the "Minnesota Daily," having annual exams at earlier ages could lead to false-positives. The co-author of the study that led to the new guidelines, Dr. Timothy R. Church, Professor of Environmental Health Sciences, and IEM Member, says "When you screen for any disease, the tests are not perfect, so sometimes they'll indicate a disease is present when it isn't."

In another article on the topic in the University of Minnesota's "Health Talk," IEM Member Dr. Douglas Yee, Professor of Medicine and Pharmacology, Director of the Masonic Cancer Center and John H. Kersey Chair in Cancer Research, says "The new ACS guidelines are based on a systematic evidence review of breast cancer screening literature including randomized controlled trials, more recent observational studies, and simulations." Dr. Yee notes, however, that the new guidelines are not appropriate for women at high-risk of breast cancer, such as those possessing the inherited BRCA mutation.

MN Daily: Breast Screening Age Pushed Health Talk: Mammograms Cutting Through the Mixed Messages

11/24/15 - Esther Krook-Magnuson Explores Optogenetics in Epilepsy

Dr. Esther Krook-Magnuson, Assistant Professor of Neuroscience, MnDRIVE Neuromodulation Scholar, and IEM Member, is researching how brain activity during epileptic seizures can be altered using light, a technique known as optogenetics. As reported in the University of Minnesota's Health Talk Publication, medication is unable to control seizures in as many as 40% of epilepsy patients, resulting in a need for other approaches. Optogenetics can potentially address this by targeting the specific groups of cells that cause the seizures and adjusting the activity within the cells. Dr. Krook-Magnuson says that "Optogenetics is the tool we've been waiting for." Her research is supported by both MnDRIVE and the NIH.

Health Talk: Shining a Light on the Brain: Optogenetics and Epilepsy

11/24/15 - Kalpna Gupta Researching Effectiveness of Cannabis for Pain

Dr. Kalpna Gupta, Professor of Medicine, Hematology, Oncology and Transplantation, and co-chair of the IEM Cellular and Molecular Bioengineering Theme, is performing research funded by the state of Minnesota on the effectiveness of cannabis in addressing intractable pain. As reported in the Minnesota Daily, the Minnesota Department of Health is determining whether to recommend use of medical marijuana, in addition to the nine conditions that already qualify patients for use of the drug in Minnesota. The clinical trial includes 35 patients who receive either a vaporized form of the drug or a placebo. All of the patients will randomly receive each during the study to determine the effectiveness of cannabis in treating their pain. Dr. Gupta noted that the approvals for her research from various federal and state (California) organizations were obtained without any blockade.

MN Daily: Cannabis Use Could Broaden

11/24/15 - Xiang Cheng Awarded Packard Fellowship

IEM Member Dr. Xiang Cheng, Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science, has been awarded a Packard Fellowship for Science and Engineering. Dr. Cheng is among 18 people from the U.S. to receive this honor, given to "the most innovative scientists and engineers" as reported in CEMS News. The fellowships "provide early-career scientists with flexible funding and the freedom to take risks and explore new frontiers in their fields." Dr. Cheng says that his laboratory "aims to design 'smart' fluids, where the properties of fluids (e.g. viscosity) can be controlled by external factors such as light, shear forces and electromagnetic fields. These smart fluids can be used in many industrial circumstances such as lubricants, coating fluids et al." The Packard Fellowship grant will provide Dr. Cheng with $875,000 over 5 years to support his research.

CEMS News: Cheng Awarded Packard Fellowship

10/30/15 - Clifford Steer, M.D., Accepts New Leadership Role as Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs

Dr. Clifford Steer, M.D., Professor of Medicine and IEM Member, has accepted a new leadership role as Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs at the Medical School, a position he will begin on December 1st. Dr. Steer's time at the University of Minnesota's Medical School began more than 40 years ago, when he was an MD student and then a resident of Internal Medicine. After then spending 14 years at the NIH, he returned to the Medical School, where he has served as a tenured professor and in a number of committees. "As a physician and researcher, with ties throughout the school, Cliff can relate to our faculty on many levels. He's going to be an outstanding ally for the faculty as we begin to meet our goals with mentorship, academic scholarship, P&T program and tenure track, and diversity," said Dr. Brooks Jackson, Dean of Medical School and VP of Health Sciences, in his announcement of this new position.

Clifford Steer, M.D., Named Associate Dean of Faculty Affairs

10/30/15 - IEM Industrial Fellow Collaborating with University of Minnesota & Mayo Clinic on Epilepsy Seizure Prevention Device

IEM Industrial Fellow Dr. Timothy Denison of Medtronic is collaborating with researchers at the Mayo Clinic, University of Minnesota, and University of Pennsylvania to develop a device that would predict, then prevent impending epileptic seizures, as reported in the publication "Fierce Medical Devices." The development is being funded by a $6.8 million 5 year grant from the NIH led by Dr. Greg Worrell, Professor of Neurology at the Mayo Clinic, as part of the Obama Administration's Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative. Dr. Worrell, who discussed the technology at an IEM Seminar in March, says that "The new technology, coupled with the big data analysis, will also be used for effective brain stimulation to prevent seizures before they ever occur." Drs. Worrell and Denison are both affiliate members of the Center for Neuroengineering, which is an affiliate center of IEM.

Mayo Clinic, Medtronic researchers get $6.8M from NIH for epileptic smart device

10/30/15 - Medical School's Medical Discovery Teams Led by IEM Members

IEM Members Dr. Timothy J. Ebner, Professor and Head, Department of Neuroscience and Dr. Kamil Ugurbil, Professor of Radiology and Director of the Center for Magnetic Resonance Research (CMRR) are leading two of the four University of Minnesota Medical Discovery Teams (MDT). As reported in the "Medical School Blog," these teams were established and funded by the Minnesota State Legislature "to recruit faculty considered to be national leaders in their fields to lead teams focused on solving health issues important to Minnesota and the nation," according to Medical School Dean Brooks Jackson. Dr. Ebner will lead the "Addiction" faculty search team and Dr. Ugurbil will lead the search team entitled: "Imaging Across Multiple Scales of Neuronal Organization in the Brain: Circuit Based Approaches to Neuropsychiactric Disorders."

Medical Discovery Teams Update

10/30/15 - Michael McAlpine Applies 3-D Printing to Nerve Regeneration

Dr. Michael McAlpine, Benjamin Mayhugh Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering and IEM Member, is working on ways to regenerate complex nerve injuries with 3-D printed scaffolding to serve as a conduit between the ends of a broken nerve network, as reported in M.I.T.'s "Technology Review." The impact of this type of nerve regeneration is potentially significant as more than 200,000 procedures to repair nerves are performed annually in the U.S., and the approach can eliminate some of the issues associated with the current practice of harvesting and using nerve tissue from other parts of the body. Dr. McAlpine recently came to the University of Minnesota from Princeton University and presented aspects of this research during an IEM Seminar in September. He says that, as he continues his research, he would like to identify a biodegradable material that could be used for the scaffolding so that it can dissolve in the body after the nerve has been regenerated. This advance will set the stage for future clinical trials in humans.

3-D Printing's Next Act Nerve Regeneration

10/30/15 - Visible Heart Lab Serving as Research Site for Lung Perfusion System Aimed at Increasing Lung Transplant Availability

The University of Minnesota's Visible Heart Lab (VHL), directed by Dr. Paul A. Iaizzo, Professor of Surgery and IEM Associate Director for Education and Outreach, is the sole research site for the testing of the TransMedics OSCTM Portable Lung Perfusion System, which will help to make more lungs available for transplantation. "With only 20% of all lung offers currently used for transplant and a growing need for quality donors, our research with Ex vivo lung preservation (EVLP) is a critical step toward addressing this shortage," says Dr. Gabriel Loor, M.D., Assistant Professor of Surgery, who is performing this research with Dr. Iaizzo.

The OSC system preserves lungs by continuously pumping blood through them as they are being transported from the donor to the recipient. This practice increases the time available between harvest and transplant as compared to the current practice of placing the harvested lungs on ice. This added time would increase the number of lungs available for transplants. The Visible Heart Lab is uniquely capable of performing the studies needed to evaluate the OSC system's various aspects, and the resulting research is described in two journal articles that are currently under review, one in the "Journal of Thoracic and Cardiac Surgery" and the other in the "Journal of Heart and Lung Transplantation." TransMedics expects its OSC system to soon enter clinical trials in the U.S., although it is already available for commercial use in Europe and Australia.

Transmedics OCS Portable Lung Perfusion System

10/30/15 - New Cancer Immunotherapy Company Established to Commercialize Technology Developed by Carston Wagner

Tychon Biosciences, a new biotechnology company, has started to commercialize an adaptive immunotherapy developed by IEM Member Dr. Carston Wagner, Professor and Endowed Chair of Medicinal Chemistry and Director of the Chemical Biology Initiative. Dr. Wagner says the treatment can be used against a variety of cancers including those of the prostate, breast, pancreas, lung and brain, in addition to some types of leukemia. Unlike other immunotherapies in which cells are genetically modified, Dr. Wagner's technology uses a protein design - a chemical and biological approach of engineering the cells, which allows the treatment to be delivered to the patient in an "off-the-shelf" fashion, so that it can be given "much more readily." The treatment is currently in pre-clinical studies and is on track to proceed to a Phase 1 human clinical trial within two years.

Invenshure Launches Tychon Biosciences

09/29/15 - Record Participation at The IEM Annual Conference and Retreat

The 2015 IEM Annual Conference and Retreat, was successfully held at the McNamara Alumni Center on the University of Minnesota’s Twin Cities Campus on Monday, September 21st, attracting over 400 participants from both engineering and health sciences community, including members of industry. Attendees experienced captivating talks from nationally recognized keynote speakers on discovery, innovation, education, and interdisciplinary collaboration between engineering and medicine. The retreat offered rich opportunities for networking and discussions of collaborations. Over 80 faculty and industrial colleagues presented their R & D programs in 6 breakout sessions, followed by a highly engaged poster session featuring work of more than 100 University of Minnesota faculty, research programs, and students. 19 students and postdocs won poster awards (see below for a complete list).

“The high level of excitement we have experienced and the record number of participants and presenters indicate a need to enhance interdisciplinary collaborations across disciplines between medicine and health sciences and engineering, as well as between academia and industry. I am very pleased that IEM has played a positive role in fostering such collaborations.” Said Dr. Bin He, IEM director.

2016 IEM Conference and Retreat will be held on September 26, 2016. SAVE THE DATE.

09/29/15 - IEM Inducts Inaugural Class of Industrial Fellows

At the 2015 IEM Annual Conference and Retreat, the inaugural class of IEM Industrial Fellows, were inducted. These talented individuals will serve to foster greater collaboration between University of Minnesota and the medical devices and life sciences industry. Specifically, the IEM Industrial Fellows will explore and pursue collaborative research initiatives, communicate industry needs to University of Minnesota faculty and faculty expertise to industry. They will also participate at IEM events, which will serve as forums from which many of these collaborations will evolve. The IEM Industrial Fellows are nominated by IEM faculty members who work closely with industry, and are selected by the IEM Executive Committee. Being selected as an IEM Industrial Fellow represents a professional recognition.

2015 Class of IEM Industrial Fellows:
Dr. Cynthia Thatcher Clague, Medtronic
Dr. Timothy Denison, Medtronic
Dr. Bruce Forsyth, Boston Scientific
Dr. Gary Leo Hansen, RespirTech
Dr. Bruce H. KenKnight, Cyberonics
Dr. David M. Knapp, Boston Scientific
Dr. Jaydeep Kokate, Boston Scientific
Dr. SuPing Lyu, Medtronic
Mr. Rick D. McVenes, Medtronic
Dr. Gregory F. Molnar, Medical Device Consultant
Mr. Eric N. Rudie, Denervx

09/29/15 - IEM Weekly Seminar Series to Build Collaborations

IEM's 2015-2016 Seminar Series kicked off with Dr. Charlie Johnson, Professor of Physics and Astronomy, University of Pennsylvania, delivering the seminar, "Graphene-enabled Nano/Bio Hybrids for Chemical Detection and Medical Diagnostics". The following week Dr. Michael McAlpine, Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering and IEM Member, presented, "3D Printed Bionic Nanomaterials." Both seminars attracted overflow audiences of faculty members, students, and members of industry, as well as other participants who have an interest in these innovative technologies. The IEM Seminar Series was launched in the Spring semester of 2015 to facilitate interdisciplinary collaboration among members of academia and industry in an informal and collegial environment. The seminars commonly occur during the fall and spring semesters on Tuesdays, at 4-101 NHH, unless otherwise noted. Pizza and soda will be served for attendees, and it is recommended that you arrive early to secure seating.

Upcoming IEM Seminars

09/29/15 - Bob Tranquillo Receives 2015 TERMIS-AM Senior Scientist Award

IEM Member Dr. Robert Tranquillo, Distinguished McKnight University Professor and Head of the Department of Biomedical Engineering, received the 2015 Senior Scientist Award from the Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine International Society-Americas (TERMIS-AM). The award "is based on an individual's significant contributions to the tissue engineering and regenerative medicine field." Dr. Tranquillo, who was presented with a plaque during the 2015 TERMIS World Congress held earlier this month in Boston, says that this award "reflects the dedicated effort and ingenuity of many excellent students and lab staff over the years."

TERMIS AM 2015 Awardees

09/29/15 - Kelvin O. Lim Awarded R01 Grant for Research on Drug Abuse Relapse

IEM Member Kelvin O. Lim, M.D., Drs. T.J. and Ella M. Arneson Land-Grant Chair in Human Behavior; Professor and Vice Chair of Research, Department of Psychiatry, and his colleagues were recently awarded an NIH R01 grant "Functional Connectivity Changes during Early Recovery as a Marker for Relapse." The $2.6 Million grant will fund functional magnetic resonance imaging research to measure biomarkers that can identify individuals who have a high risk of drug relapse. This research had previously been supported by IEM seed funding, which Dr. Lim says, "supported the formation of an interdisciplinary faculty group of clinicians, engineers and neuroscientists that helped us refine our ideas and strategies for using noninvasive neuromodulation to therapeutically alter brain networks."

09/29/15 - Jay Kokate Featured in Star Tribune for Innovative Stent

IEM Industrial Fellow Dr. Jay Kokate was featured in the Star Tribune for his work in developing Boston Scientific's Eluvia stent to treat peripheral artery disease (PAD), a condition that affects more than 200 million people, globally. The stent, which could ultimately help prevent the amputations of the legs and feet of many diabetic patients, is coated with the drug paclitaxel, which is combined with a polymer to allow for its slow release, to prevent the re-narrowing of vessels in which it is placed - a common issue with stents. "We wanted to make sure that it was a sustained release for at least six months to a year," says Dr. Kokate. That slow release is believed among people at Boston Scientific to be the reason that 94% of patients in a clinical trial of the Eluvia stent avoided having to return to the hospital to have their arteries reopened within nine months of having it implanted.

Boston Scientific's Eluvia Stent Shows Promise Treating Peripheral Artery Disease

09/29/15 - Poster Winners in 2015 IEM Conference and Retreat

The posters were divided into one of IEM’s five research themes – Cardiovascular Engineering, Cellular and Molecular Bioengineering, Medical and Biological Imaging, Medical Devices and Neuroengineering, and also into a separate group, Postdoctoral Posters; the students/postdocs were judged by a competition panel on the quality and presentation of their works. The winners of this year’s sessions are as follows:

Cardiovascular Engineering
1st Place - Jay Reimer, et al.
Pediatric Tubular Pulmonary Heart Valve from Decellularized Engineered Tissue Tubes

2nd Place - Mengen Zhang, et al.
Engineering Skeletal Muscle Tissue Constructs Using Human Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell

3rd Place - Kanchan Kulkarni, et al.
Real-Time Feedback Based Control of Cardiac Restitution using Optical Mapping

Cellular and Molecular Bioengineering
1st Place - Sofie O’Brien, et al.
A Systems Analysis of Dual Signaling Control of Conjugative Drug Resistance Transfer in Enterococcus Faecalis

2nd Place - Geneva Doak, et al.
A Microfluidic Model of Tumor Heterogeneity to Study Evolution of Chemoresistance

3rd Place - Alexandra Crampton, et al.
Rapid Generation of Collagen Microtissues to Study Cell Matrix Remodeling

Medical and Biological Imaging
1st Place - Kai Yu, et al.
In Vivo Monitoring of Tumor Growth in a Mouse Cancer Model Using High-resolution Electrical-conductivity Contrast Imaging

2nd Place - Yicun Wang, et al.
Magnetic Resonance based Electrical Properties Tomography with Multi-channel Transmission and Total Variation Constrains

3rd Place - Oliver Dannberg, et al.
Comparison Between Gaussian and Bessel Beam Illumination for Scanning Thin-Sheet Laser Imaging Microscope (sTSLIM)

Medical Devices
1st Place - Yiru Wang, et al.
Thermal Contrast Amplification Bioassay Technology

2nd Place - Patricia Maglalang, et al.
Thermal Contrast Amplification Bioassay Technology

3rd Place - Yulong Li, et al.
Fully-Depleted Silicon-on-Insulator Devices for In Vivo Radiation Cancer Therapy

1st Place - tie - Abbey Holt, et al.
Phasic Burst Stimulation: A Closed-Loop Approach to Deep Brain Stimulation for Parkinson's Disease

1st Place - tie - Julia Quindlen, et al.
A Multiphysics Model of the Pacinian Corpuscle

2nd Place - Kate Frost, et al.
Patient Enrollment Difficulties in Trial of Primed rTMS for Acute Stroke in U.S.

3rd Place - Elisabeth Moore, et al.
V4 LFP Signals Predict and Affect Behavioral Reliability in Non-human Primates During Shape Detection Task Training

Post Docs
1st Place - Hattie L. Ring, et al.
In Vivo Quantification of Iron Oxide Nanoparticle Biodistribution Using Positive T1 Contrast

2nd Place - Giuseppe Cataldo, et al.
Targeting Putative Mu Opioid/Chemokine Receptor Type 5 Heteromers Potently Attenuates Nociception in a Murine Model of Chemotherapy-induced Peripheral Neuropathy

3rd Place - Marie-Elena Brett, et al.
Droplet-Based Three Dimensional Cell Migration Assay with Flow Cytometrey Based Automated Analysis

08/27/15 - Kelvin Lim's PTSD Research Published in JAMA

Research led by IEM Executive Committee Member Dr. Kelvin Lim was recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). Dr. Lim is Professor and Vice Chair for Research in the Department of Psychiatry, and Drs. T.J. and Ella M. Arneson Land-Grant Chair in Human Behavior. The randomized clinical trial, entitled “Meditation Interventions for Treatment of PTSD in Veterans," compared the effectiveness of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, a group program that teaches participants to increase their mindfulness, "moment-to-moment, non-judgmental awareness," versus present-centered group therapy, in which participants focus upon their current life problems. The results showed that the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction was more effective than present-centered group therapy and comparable to standard therapies such as prolonged exposure. The Veterans Administration supported this research as part of its efforts to address posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which affects 23% of veterans returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction for Posttraumatic Stress

08/27/15 - Medtronic Cardiac Monitors Implanted by Paul Iaizzo Show that Drones Can Cause Stress to Bears

A recent study that used data from Medtronic Reveal cardiac monitors, shows that drones can cause stress to bears. The study, reported by the BBC and other publications and led by Dr. Mark A. Ditmer, a University of Minnesota Postdoctoral Associate, took place in northern Minnesota, and shows that the heart rates of four black bears studied jumped significantly when drones flew within 20 meters of them. The cardiac monitors were implanted by Dr. Paul A. Iaizzo, Professor of Surgery and IEM Associate Director for Education and Outreach. The data was downloaded and analyzed during visits to the bear dens by Dr. Iaizzo and Dr. Tim Laske, Vice President of Research and Business Development at Medtronic AF Solutions, and IEM Industrial Advisory Board Member. Members of the bear research team led by Dr. Dave Garshelis, Adjunct Professor in the Department of Fisheries, Wildlife and Conservation Biology, discussed the cardiac changes and how they were correlated with the drone flights and other stressors.

Bears get "stressed" by drones

08/27/15 - BRAIN Initiative Event Features IEM Director

IEM Director Dr. Bin He’s research was featured in a video at an online “Hangout On Air” event hosted on August 7th by the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative. In the video, produced by the National Science Foundation’s “Science Nation” series and narrated by PBS NewsHour science correspondent Miles O’Brien, Dr. He discusses how the noninvasive brain-computer interface works and its potential to help people with disabilities become more independent by giving them the ability to perform daily tasks on their own. The Hangout hosts also discuss the tremendous benefit of the system being noninvasive and its future promise to those who will utilize it.

BRAIN Hangout On Air

08/27/15 - MnDRIVE Initiative Helps Bring Leading Brain Researchers to the University of Minnesota

Featured in the “Duluth News Tribune”, funding from the Minnesota Legislature’s MnDRIVE initiative has helped in the recruitment of six leading brain researchers to the University of Minnesota. These researchers have joined the MnDRIVE Brain Conditions team led by IEM Member Dr. Jerrold Vitek, Professor and Chair of the Department of Neurology. Dr. Vitek ‘s team focuses on neuromodulation, including Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS), which is used to address conditions such as essential tremor, which affects Parkinson’s Disease patients. Two of the team’s new members are Dr. Michael Park, a neurosurgeon recruited from the University of Louisville and Dr. Scott Cooper, a neurologist who was recruited from the Cleveland Clinic.

Initiative Brings Top Brain Researchers

08/27/15 - National Academy of Medicine Issues Summary on the Opportunities and Challenges Associated with Neuromodulation

The National Academy of Medicine issued a summary of a workshop held in early March 2015 entitled “Non-Invasive Neuromodulation of the Central Nervous System: Opportunities and Challenges.” The workshop was organized to address the benefits and risks, regulatory, reimbursement and ethical issues associated with noninvasive neuromodulation, as rapid advances in the field lead to new medical devices. Such devices could include therapeutic ones that would treat nervous system disorders and nontherapeutic ones for cognitive and functional enhancement. To thoroughly address these issues and opportunities, stakeholders with a variety of backgrounds were invited to take part in the two-day meeting; including clinicians, regulatory experts, healthcare providers, payers, researchers, ethicists and people who develop neuromodulation technologies and devices.

Non-Invasive Neuromodulation of the Central Nervous System: Opportunities and Challenges: Workshop Summary

08/27/15 - University of Minnesota takes Leadership Role in New Minnesota Medical Manufacturing Partnership

The University of Minnesota is among the leaders of the newly-established Minnesota Medical Manufacturing Partnership (MMMP), a federally-formed consortium of the state’s key participants in its medical technology community, according to a recent article in the University of Minnesota’s “Inquiry” publication. The article highlights the University of Minnesota’s strong track record of medical technology development, and cites the roles of both the Institute for Engineering in Medicine (IEM) and Medical Devices Center (MDC) in this development, through IEM’s formation of interdisciplinary research collaborations and the MDC’s Innovation Fellows Program. The MMMP is one of twelve such “Manufacturing Communities” named by the U.S. Department of Commerce to support, through access to federal aid, the best-practices and economic development in the chosen sectors.

U Among Leaders in Federally Named Med Tech Partnership

07/27/15 - Victor Barocas Named College of Science & Engineering Distinguished Professor

Dr. Victor Barocas, Professor of Biomedical Engineering, and IEM Member, was named a College of Science and Engineering Distinguished Professor, which honors an outstanding faculty member for his or her, "Efforts in and contributions to teaching and scholarly research, and for their genuine commitment to the College of Science and Engineering and its activities." Speaking about his distinction, Dr. Barocas said, "The award is a great honor, and it's particularly gratifying because the U and CSE have been such a vital part of my education and career over the years." Included with this recognition is a one-time award of $15,000 to be used for professional development or research.

College of Science & Engineering Distinguished Professorships

07/27/15 - Paul Iaizzo and John Bischof Receive Minnesota Partnership Grant for Collaboration with Mayo Clinic

Dr. Paul A. Iaizzo, Professor of Surgery, IEM Associate Director for Education and Outreach, and Director of the Visible Heart Laboratory, and Dr. John C. Bischof, Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Biomedical Engineering, and IEM Associate Director for Development, recently received a grant from the Minnesota Partnership for Biotechnology and Medical Genomics focused on "Electroporation for Selective, Non-thermal, Reversible and Irreversible Tissue Ablation." The primary goal of this collaboration is to investigate and apply refined electroporation protocols to selectively ablate tissues, while at the same time, minimizing undesired destruction or collateral damage to associated tissues. Dr. Iaizzo will oversee in vitro tissue dose titration experiments, and Dr. Bischof will perform cellular and ex vivo tissue assessments to determine the highest-possible efficacy of non-thermal ablation in cardiovascular systems. As an outcome of this work, the findings will then be leveraged into new clinical approaches with collaborators at the Mayo Clinic.

Minnesota Partnership Announces Scientific Infrastructure Awards

07/27/15 - IEM Members Featured for their Precision Treatment of Movement Disorders, Including Parkinson's Tremors

Multiple IEM Members were featured in the July 15th issue of the University of Minnesota's Discover publication for their interdisciplinary work in Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) to more precisely treat patients with movement disorders, including tremors associated with Parkinson's disease. Featured in the article were Drs. Jerrold Vitek, Professor and Chair of the Department of Neurology; Kenneth Baker, Assistant Professor of Neurology; Noam Harel, Associate Professor of Radiology and Neurosurgery; Matthew Johnson, Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering; and Timothy Church, Professor of Environmental Health Sciences. The team takes a multidisciplinary approach to map electrical signals of neurons and use MR and CT imaging. Efforts are being made to increase this precision with a new type of DBS lead, which would allow for a more-controlled delivery of electrical current to a patients' brain than it is possible with existing leads.

Discover: Taming Tremors

07/27/15 - New Smithsonian Exhibit Features Minnesota's "Medical Alley"

The Smithsonian's National Museum of American History is prominently featuring the heritage of Minnesota's medical technology community in its new "Places of Invention" exhibit that opened on July 1st. As reported in the Star Tribune, the "Medical Alley" section focuses on the community's beginnings in the 1950's with the risky, innovative pursuits of University of Minnesota surgeon Dr. C. Walton Lillehei, and eventual Medtronic founder Earl Bakken. Those beginnings, which were the result of strong collaborations between the University of Minnesota and industry, have since evolved into a community of "more than 500 small and large businesses and more than 36,000 employees." The Smithsonian sought to highlight technology clusters that have a compelling story of innovation, sense of community and "critical mass of people and resources and ideas." "Medical Alley's" importance to our nation's innovative heritage is made clear by its placement next to a section highlighting Silicon Valley.

Medical Technology Heritage Featured at Smithsonian

07/27/15 - University's Medical School Utilizing 3-D Printing to Produce Models of Body Parts for the Training of Students

As reported by the Star Tribune, the University of Minnesota's Medical School is using 3-D printers from Twin Cities-based Stratasys to make 3-D models of human body parts to train medical students, part of an increasing application of 3-D printing in medicine. IEM Member Dr. Robert M. Sweet, Associate Professor of Urology and Director of the university's Center for Research in Education and Simulation Technologies (CREST), is using 3-D printouts of kidneys to train students at the University of Minnesota and other institutions, including hospitals, nursing schools and military medical training facilities. In addition to producing models of organs, the printers are used to replicate a patient's specific anatomy in preparation for surgery.

The Department of Defense has partnered with the University of Minnesota and Stratasys to produce realistic head, tongue and trachea models in which the 3-D-printed body parts are further enhanced with silicone molds, hand-painting and water sealants, making them more realistic for the training of Army physicians and first responders. The tracheas, in particular, are realistic enough to be sold on the open market. More recently, the Defense Department has partnered with the university and Stratasys to produce a "modular manikin" for surgical training.

Stratasys 3-D Printers Ramp Up Health Care Applications

07/27/15 - Andrew Grande Discusses Need for a Greater Percentage of Minnesota Stroke Patients to Receive Recommended Treatment

In a recent Star Tribune article, Dr. Andrew W. Grande, Assistant Professor of Neurosurgery and IEM Member, discusses the need to increase the percentage of stroke patients receiving recommended treatment in Minnesota beyond its current level of 4%. Dr. Grande says that key factors in improving this figure are for patients to learn about the symptoms of a stroke, and then to seek immediate treatment at a hospital. That treatment, which has been primarily in the form of IV medications, will now include more medical devices that mechanically remove blood clots from patients experiencing acute severe strokes. So far, two devices have been approved for treatment of this condition in the U.S., one manufactured by Medtronic, and the other by Stryker. Early intervention is required, as current devices need to be used within several hours of the onset of symptoms.

Clot Removal Devices Recommended for Some Stroke Patients

06/29/15 - Bin He Elected Chair-Elect of International Academy of Medical and Biological Engineering

Dr. Bin He, IEM director, Distinguished McKnight University Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Medtronic-Bakken Endowed Chair for Engineering in Medicine, was recently elected as the Chair-elect of the International Academy of Medical and Biological Engineering (IAMBE) for 2015-2018. IAMBE consists currently of 119 fellows worldwide including 26 members of national academies. The Academy fellowship represents significant recognition of an individual's original scientific contributions to and leadership in the field of medical and biological engineering. The Academy is affiliated with the International Federation of Medical and Biological Engineering (IFMBE), the umbrella organization of all national societies of biomedical engineering consisting of over 120,000 members worldwide. Dr. Bob Nerem, the Institute Professor Emeritus at Georgia Tech and member of National Academy of Engineering, is the founding Chair of the Academy. Dr. Roger Kamm, Cecil and Ida Green Professor of Biological and Mechanical Engineering at MIT and member of the Institute of Medicine, is the Past Chair.

International Academy of Medical and Biological Engineering; About IAMBE

06/29/15 - Scoliosis Research Society Returns Home & David Polly to Take the Helm

Dr. David W. Polly, Jr., M.D., Professor and Chief of Spine Surgery, and IEM Member, is President-Elect of the Scoliosis Research Society (SRS). Dr. Polly says that Minnesota has "led the way" in making dramatic advancements in treating this condition during much of the society's 50 years of existence, especially in spinal instrumentation and surgical techniques that have led to much faster recovery times for patients. The SRS, which includes more than 1,200 of the world's leading spine surgeons, funds a variety of research grants and offers educational opportunities through its conferences, hands-on courses, worldwide courses and e-text. It will be holding its 50th Annual meeting in Minneapolis from September 30 - October 3, 2015. Minneapolis has had an historic relationship with the SRS, hosting its first two annual meetings in 1966 and 1967, and the 25th Annual meeting in 1991. More of the society's presidents, throughout its history, have had Minnesota roots than from anywhere else.

American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
Scoliosis Research Society 50th Annual Meeting

06/29/15 - Jeff McCullough Appointed to Chair of Advisory Council on Blood Stem Cell Transplantation

Dr. J. Jeffrey McCullough, Professor of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology, American Red Cross Professor of Transfusion Medicine, and IEM Member, has been appointed Chair of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Advisory Council on Blood Stem Cell Transplantation. Through this appointment, Dr. McCullough will lead the council, which advises the Secretary of HHS on matters regarding blood and stem cell transplantation. Dr. McCullough's role in founding the National Marrow Donor Program and experience in Stem Cell Transplant program activities, and in blood and marrow stem cell processing gained at the University of Minnesota, adds to his expertise and ability to serve effectively as the Chair of this Committee.

HHS Advisory Council on Blood Stem Cell Transplantation (ACBSCT)

06/29/15 - Art Erdman Delivers Keynote at Medtronic Modeling Symposium

Dr. Art Erdman, Director of IEM affiliated Medical Devices Center and Professor of Mechanical Engineering, delivered a Keynote presentation, "Generating an 'Optimal Solution' Including Device/Tissue Interaction via Modeling and Simulation," at the Medtronic Modeling Symposium on June 3, 2015, held on the company's Mounds View campus. The theme for the conference was "When Modeling Becomes Essential." The Medical Devices Center, under Dr. Erdman's leadership, has collaborated with Dr. Dan Keefe's team in Computer Science and Engineering to develop a virtual prototyping system "The Coffey Table," one of which is located at the Medtronic Mounds View facility.

06/29/15 - Ann Van de Winckel Receives Medical School/UMF Faculty Award

Dr. Ann Van de Winckel, PhD, PT, and IEM Member, received a Medical School/UMF Faculty Equipment Award to support her project, "Integrated Motion Analysis and Biofeedback System for Upper Extremity Performance." The equipment will allow for more precise measurements to assess a patient's motor recovery following stroke. The equipment's software will provide real-time feedback to help stroke patients improve how they move their arms and hands in space. Dr. Van de Winckel's primary research objectives include defining the involvement and neural mechanisms of proprioception (body awareness) and neuroplasticity in sensorimotor recovery in stroke patients through brain imaging, neurorehabilitation, and clinical assessments. Dr. Van de Winckel is seeking to translate these research findings to therapeutic interventions aimed at sensorimotor recovery.

06/29/15 - Teresa Kimberley Receives Grant to Test a Device for Improving Arm Function Following Stroke

Dr. Teresa Jacobson Kimberley, Ph.D., PT, and IEM Member, received a grant from MicroTransponder to participate in a clinical trial to test their new Vivistim System - a neuromodulation device for treatment of hemiparesis secondary to stroke. The treatment involves pairing vagus nerve stimulation with rehabilitation to improve arm function after ischemic stroke. Dr. Stephen Haines, M.D., Professor and Chair, Department of Neurosurgery, and IEM Member, will serve as a surgeon on the project. The University of Minnesota is one of three sites in the U.S. to conduct this investigation.

VNS Stroke Trial; About the Study

06/29/15 - Clinical Trial Results Announced for Sleeping Beauty System

On June 21, 2015, results were announced of a clinical drug trial made with the gene-transfer method "Sleeping Beauty System" developed by the University of Minnesota's Dr. Perry Hackett, Ph.D., Professor of Genetics, Cell Biology and Development, and IEM Member. In the trial, half of the 16 patients treated with the cancer-killing CAR-T drug following bone-marrow transplant survived. The promise of this technology led to an investment earlier this year by drug company Merck of nearly $1 Billion, in addition to royalties. The Sleeping Beauty system, which is based on a transposon gene, is thought to be advantageous compared to other, virus-based methods of making CAR-T drugs, which can be more prone to mutations in the host DNA. As a result, the Sleeping Beauty system may be a faster, less expensive and potentially safer production method.

StarTribune - U technology is key to potent drug to treat blood cancer

06/29/15 - Wei-Shou Hu among Minnesota Futures Grant Recipients

Dr. Wei-Shou Hu, Ph.D., Professor of Chemical Engineering & Materials Science, and IEM Member, was among four investigators who received a Minnesota Futures Grant for "Glycoengineering of therapeutic biologics by systems design and combinational synthesis." Their research will utilize genome engineering, synthetic biology and systems biotechnology, and seeks to ensure that drugs made with materials obtained from living human or animal cells meet quality standards. Achieving these standards can be a challenge because current methods for reproducing the cells in a lab can lead to the unwanted altering of the cells' genetic material and structure, resulting in drugs which don't meet production standards.

Minnesota Futures awards aim to boost human health

05/29/15 - Cancer Animal Core Established as an IEM Affiliated Lab

In response to the increasing demand for cancer research resources among IEM Members, the Institute for Engineering in Medicine (IEM) has funded the establishment of an affiliate laboratory, the Cancer Animal Core (CAC), which provides service to IEM members and the community. What makes the CAC especially unique on campus is its capability to test devices and therapeutics, its access to a variety of cancer imaging modalities, and its accessibility to researchers new to the use of animals, according to CAC Director Dr. John Bischof, a Distinguished McKnight University Professor of Mechanical Engineering and IEM Associate Director for Development.

The CAC also offers users a full range of cancer research services in the management of animals, cell lines, tumor monitoring, and data sets. As a result, the CAC can "dramatically reduce the time and effort for an investigator to run pilot and long term projects using cancer models that are already in operation within the core," says Qi Shao, a Biomedical Engineering Ph.D. candidate managing the lab. For more information on the CAC’s services, please contact Qi Shao at

05/29/15 - Joan Bechtold Named to the NIH NIAMS Advisory Council

Dr. Joan Bechtold, Ph.D., Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery, and IEM Member, was among five new members named to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS) Advisory Council. Members on the council consist of both scientists and laypersons experienced with the NIAMS’ mission. They advise the institute on broad issues, and recommend what courses of action should be taken on research proposals.

Since 1995, Dr. Betchold has been receiving funding from NIH for a variety of research projects. Her primary research focus area is on bone healing in situations in which co-morbidities exist, especially for patients who have received revision joint replacement surgeries. With her expertise and experience, she will help NIAMS support research seeking answers to issues in causes, treatment, and prevention of arthritis, musculoskeletal and skin diseases.

NIH NIAMS - Five Named to NIAMS Advisory Council

05/29/15 - StarTribune Highlights Use of 3D Printing by Drs. Angela Panoskaltsis-Mortari and Robroy MacIver

The laboratory of IEM Member Dr. Angela Panoskaltsis-Mortari was among 20 facilities chosen to receive one of the earliest bioprinters, a 3D printer using living tissue, which she is utilizing in her research. Dr. Angela Panoskaltsis-Mortari is a Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Blood and Marrow Transplantation and Pulmonary Medicine and Director of the Cytokine Reference Laboratory. In the StarTribune article, Dr. Panoskaltsis-Mortari discusses the tremendous promise of 3D bioprinting, such as the printing of organs. The article also cites hurdles to achieving this promise, and other uses of 3D printing in medicine at the University of Minnesota.

Among those other uses is the more-simple printing of plastic 3D models of organs, as utilized by the Visible Heart Lab, an IEM Affiliated laboratory, for educational purposes. As an example of how this technology is used, IEM Member Dr. Robroy MacIver, an Assistant Professor of Surgery who specializes in pediatric cardiothoracic surgery, shows the organ models to his patients’ parents so that they can better-understand the conditions faced by their children.

Star Tribune - University of Minnesota researcher has one of the first "bioprinters" using living tissue

05/29/15 - Medical Devices Center Announces 2015-16 Innovation Fellows

The Medical Devices Center (MDC), an IEM affiliated center, is pleased to announce the names of its Innovation Fellows for the 2015-2016 academic year. The program’s Director, Dr. Ben Arcand, is enthusiastic about this class, stating "We've recruited a very strong team for the 2015-'16 Innovation Fellows Program with a diverse range of technical skills and experiences." The Fellows have backgrounds in neurosurgery, cardiology, electrical, mechanical and biomedical engineering, chemistry, app development, and neurosciences. Dr. Arcand feels that this diversity will allow the team to "be well-poised to develop technologies that meet important unmet clinical needs and to collaborate across a variety of clinical and technical areas." This will be the 8th year of the program, which has produced 160 patent disclosures during its first 5 years, and has prepared dozens of its alumni to be productive innovators in industry, academia, and clinical medicine.

The 2015-‘16 Class Members:
Adam Black, Ph.D. candidate, Biomedical, Electrical Engineering, University of Minnesota
Michael Greminger, Ph.D., Associate Professor in Mechanical Engineering, University of Minnesota - Duluth
Brian Krohn, Ph.D. candidate, Natural Resource Science, Chemistry; CEO of Zuri Apps; Entrepreneur
Amit Goyal, M.D., Resident in Neurosurgery, University of Minnesota
Steven Reinitz, Ph.D., Co-founder B.B.R. Medical Innovations; Entrepreneur
Ahmed Selim, M.D., Internal Medicine Physician (Cardiovascular Hospitalist), University of Iowa Hospital and Clinics
Bradley Slaker, M.B.A., Founder and CEO of DesignWise Medical; Entrepreneur
Anastasia Zink, Ph.D. candidate, Neuroscience, University of Minnesota, Co-founder of MN Neuromodulation Consortium

Medical Devices Center Innovation Fellows Program

05/29/15 - Dr. Kalpna Gupta Presents Approaches to Addressing Pain from Sickle Cell Disease

Dr. Kalpna Gupta, Professor of Medicine, Hematology, Oncology and Transplantation, and IEM Member, gave the plenary talk "Cannabinoid-based therapy and approaches to quantify pain in sickle cell disease" at the Sickle Cell Disease Research and Educational Meeting in Hollywood, Florida, April 10-13, 2015. Dr. Gupta also gave the plenary lecture "Integrative approaches to treat sickle pain," at the 10th International Congress of Sickle Cell Disease in Strasbourg, France, April 16-18, 2015. Sickle Cell Disease affects 70,000 to 80,000 Americans, according to Generics Home Reference, and can lead to intense pain. That said, obtaining approval and funding to test cannabinoids in humans has been a challenge due to laws against marijuana. Still, this avenue of research could have great potential. In a article last year, Dr. Gupta stated that “cannabinoids have good outcomes in treating Sickle Cell Disease pain.”

Medical Jane - Sickle Cell Disease and Cannabis: Human Trials Set to Begin in California Next Month

05/29/15 - Dr. Russell Hobbie Co-Authors the Fifth Edition of Intermediate Physics for Medicine and Biology

Dr. Russell K. Hobbie, Professor of Physics, Emeritus, and IEM member, has co-authored the fifth edition of Intermediate Physics for Medicine and Biology along with Dr. Bradley J. Roth, Professor of Physics, Oakland University. According to its publisher, Springer, this textbook, "Bridges the gap between an introductory physics course and the physics needed by researchers and practitioners in medical physics, biological physics, biomedical engineering and medicine." Additional information about the book can be found online.

Springer - Intermediate Physics for Medicine & Biology, 5th Edition

04/27/15 - IEM Director wins IEEE EMBS Academic Career Achievement Award

Dr. Bin He, IEM director, Distinguished McKnight University Professor of Biomedical Engineering, and Medtronic-Bakken Endowed Chair for Engineering in Medicine, received the prestigious Academic Career Achievement Award from the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (EMBS), one of the world’s largest professional societies in bioengineering. This award is given annually to an individual “For outstanding contribution and achievement in the field of Biomedical Engineering as an educator, researcher, developer, or administrator who has had a distinguished career of twenty years or more in the field of biomedical engineering.” Scientific contributions and academic achievements are major criteria for the award, which represents the highest honor for the society to recognize one of its 10,000+ members each year. Past awardees include Bob Langer (MIT; tissue engineering) and Roger Barr (Duke University; bioelectricity), among others. Dr. He was recognized “For significant contributions to neuroengineering research and education.”


04/27/15 - Jakub Tolar Named Distinguished McKnight University Professor

Dr. Jakub Tolar, Professor of Pediatrics, director of Stem Cell Institute, and IEM member, was recently named Distinguished McKnight University Professor. The Distinguished McKnight University Professorship program recognizes outstanding mid-career faculty members who have recently achieved full professor status. Recipients hold the title “Distinguished McKnight University Professor” for as long as they remain employed at the University of Minnesota. Inspired by the needs of his patients, Dr. Tolar has pioneered new therapies for children with otherwise lethal disorders and is now viewed as one of the world’s experts in the treatment of epidermolysis bullosa. Dr. Tolar has also come to be a University advocate for new areas of medical science, such as genome editing and regenerative medicine. Dr. Tolar was one of five professors awarded and joins an esteemed group of faculty at the University of Minnesota.

2015 Distinguished McKnight Professors

04/27/15 - James Cloyd Receives Lifetime Achievement Award

Dr. James Cloyd, Professor of Experimental and Clinical Pharmacology, Director, Center for Orphan Drug Research, and IEM member has been recognized for his contributions to the field and will receive the 2015 Sumner J. Yaffe Life Time Achievement Award in Pediatric Pharmacology and Therapeutics. The award will be presented by the Pediatric Pharmacy Advocacy Group at the 24th PPAG Annual Meeting at the Minneapolis Marriott City Center on May 1. Dr. Cloyd was selected to receive this award because of his contributions which have expanded and enhanced knowledge of the use of drugs in children and the treatment of disease. Dr. Cloyd is also being recognized for being instrumental in training the next generation of clinical pharmacologists and pharmacists. The Sumner Yaffe Lifetime Achievement Award was established in 2002 and is given annually in recognition of significant and sustained contributions toward the improvement of children's health through the field of pediatric pharmacology and therapeutics.

Yaffe Lifetime Achievement Award - 2015

04/27/15 - Casim Sarkar Awarded 5-Year NIH R01 Grant

Dr. Casim Sarkar, Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering, and IEM member has recently been awarded a 5-year R01 grant from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences of NIH, to study the interplay between noise and signaling in cellular decision making, with a focus on cell differentiation. At the molecular level, noise arises from inherent stochasticity in underlying biochemical reactions or variability in cellular machinery. However, it is still unclear how this noise propagates through signaling pathways to influence the trajectory of cell differentiation. Dr. Sarkar’s lab will use computational and synthetic biology approaches to elucidate how such trajectories arise and will use systems biology approaches to experimentally demonstrate and manipulate these trajectories in the differentiation of progenitor cells. The results of this study will yield deeper insights into fundamental mechanisms underlying cellular decision-making and should enable more robust engineering of stem and progenitor cells for applications in regenerative medicine.

U of MN - Molecular Cell Engineering Laboratory

04/27/15 - IEM Member part of UMN Team to Tap Bacteria for Eco-Friendly Industrial Cleanup

Dr. Alptekin Aksan, Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering and IEM member, is part of a team of University of Minnesota researchers working to enhance and create new methods of remediation to treat chemically-infested water which, if left untreated, can create health risks in animals and humans. As part of this team, Dr. Aksan is researching methods of increasing the silica sphere production, which can help ensure that bacteria uniformly removes chemicals from water sources. The interdisciplinary teams of scientists are using a new software program called RAPID to investigate how different chemicals can be best biodegraded, and are developing tests that detect chemicals and treatments that remove these chemicals from the water, thereby allowing for industry to develop more environmentally friendly and safer products.

Inquiry - Bacteria tapped for eco-friendly industrial cleanup

04/27/15 - Paul Iaizzo’s Black Bear Research Featured by Duluth News Tribune

Dr. Paul Iaizzo, Professor of Surgery, and IEM Associate Director for Education and Outreach, was recently featured in Duluth News Tribune describing his Minnesota Black Bear Research. Dr. Iaizzo, along with a team of graduate students and scientists as part of the ongoing black bear research project with Medtronic and the University of Minnesota, spends time in the field each year to gain insight on the hibernation patterns of bears. Dr. Iaizzo looks into how the bear’s state of suspended animation could be translated to human medicine and perhaps become an alternative to inducing comas in intensive care patients. With eighteen bears currently collared and under GPS observation by the DNR, there will be continued opportunities for research and observation by Dr. Iaizzo and his team.

Duluth News Tribune - Gaining New Insight on Bears

04/27/15 - Trainees of Kalpna Gupta Recognized in Sickle Cell Research

Two trainees of Dr. Kalpna Gupta, Professor of Medicine, Hematology, Oncology and Transplantation, and co-chair of the IEM Cellular and Molecular Bioengineering Theme, presented at the Sickle Cell Disease Research and Educational Meeting in Miami, Florida, on April 10 – 14, 2015. Dr. Gupta’s high school trainee, Aditya Mittal’s abstract, “Image-based quantification of pain for sickle cell disease" was selected for plenary session presentation. Dr. Gupta’s post-doctoral trainee, Dr. Ying Wang, was invited to give a keynote presentation “Acupuncture analgesia in sickle mice". The Foundation of Sickle Cell Disease Research holds this annual meeting to support and promote hemoglobinopathy research.

Foundation for Sickle Cell Disease Research

04/27/15 - Former Advisee of Jonathan Sachs Received BME Best Dissertation Award

Anthony Braun was selected as the recipient of the Biomedical Engineering program’s 2015 Best Dissertation Award. Dr. Braun’s thesis, carried out in Jonathan Sachs’ lab, is entitled “Understanding the membrane biophysics of α-Synuclein and its role in membrane curvature induction and structural remodeling.” The work was supported early on by an IEM Seed grant to Dr. Sachs, which helped Dr. Braun secure an NRSA pre-doctoral fellowship from the NIH’s Institute for Neurological Disorders and Stroke. The fellowship was co-sponsored by Dr. Braun’s current post-doctoral mentor, Dr. Michael Lee, a Professor in the University of Minnesota’s department of Neuroscience and Institute for Translational Neuroscience.

Best Dissertation Award - BME

03/26/15 - University of Minnesota Selected as National Hub by NIH to Accelerate New Inventions to the Market

The University of Minnesota was recently selected by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) as one of three sites in the nation to establish a strategic Research and Evaluation Hub (REACH), helping to promote commercialization and technology transfer in life sciences and biomedicine. To develop the hub, NIH will invest $3 million grant with another $3 million in matching U of M funds. The university’s MIN-REACH program will provide commercial expertise and resources needed for the development and commercialization of diagnostics, therapeutics, preventive medicine and medical devices. The program will establish new industry partnerships, strengthen existing partnerships, and provide entrepreneurial, commercial-style education for innovators to accelerate the pace at which innovations reach the marketplace. It will fund between 10-20 research projects each year.

The University’s hub, MIN-REACH, will be led by Dr. Charles Muscoplat (PI), Professor of Food Science and Nutrition. Along with Dr. Muscoplat, multiple members of the Institute for Engineering in Medicine (IEM) are taking lead roles on the project. Dr. Allison Hubel (Co-PI), director of the IEM-affiliated Biopreservation Core Resource (BioCoR), and Professor of Mechanical Engineering, and Dr. Bin He (Co-PI), IEM director and Professor of Biomedical Engineering, will jointly lead the medical devices side of the program. Dr. Vadim Gurvich, Associate Professor of Pharmacy and associate director of the Institute for Therapeutics Discovery and Development, will co-lead, with Dr. Muscoplat, the pharmaceutical side of the program. In addition to the 4 Co-PIs, several IEM members are participating in the MN-REACH grant, including Dr. Kevin Peterson (Co-I), from the Department of Family and Community Health and director of the Center for Excellence in Primary Care, who will provide medical advice.

"MIN-REACH will play a crucial role in providing the coaching, training and expertise needed to focus our research efforts on commercial markets and accelerate the tech transfer process," said Brian Herman, vice president for research at the University of Minnesota.

"MN-REACH is closely related to the mission of IEM for promoting translational research moving basic discoveries to medical devices industry," said Bin He, IEM director. "The IEM has been heavily involved in the planning of this NIH REACH grant from the beginning. This NIH Hub program is another recognition of what we do and will further accelerate the translation of UMN research to industry and clinical practice."

Additional information about MIN-REACH can be found at the University of Minnesota’s Office of the Vice President for Research:
Discover – University of Minnesota selected as hub for NIH program to accelerate new inventions to the market

03/26/15 - Joan Bechtold, Wei Chen, Will Durfee Inducted into Medical and Biological Engineering Elite

On March 16, 2015, the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) inducted new members to their College of Fellows at their Annual Meeting in Washington DC. AIMBE Fellows consists of the top two percent of medical and biological engineers in the country. It is composed of accomplished and distinguished engineering and medical school chairs, research directors, professors, innovators, and successful entrepreneurs. In order to be inducted, new members were nominated, reviewed, and elected by peers and members of the College of Fellows.

Joan Bechtold, Ph.D., Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery and IEM member, was inducted into the College of Fellows for outstanding contributions in research on the bone-implant interface and bone healing mechanisms.

Wei Chen, Ph.D., Professor of Radiology and IEM Medical and Biological Imaging theme chair, was inducted into the College of Fellows for outstanding contributions to MRS research and technology.

William Durfee, Ph.D., Professor and Director of Design Education of Department of Mechanical Engineering and IEM member, was inducted into the College of Fellows for outstanding contributions to medical device design education and research.

For more information about the AIMBE Annual Meeting and the AIMBE College of Fellows Class of 2015, please visit AIMBE’s website.

03/26/15 - Filippo Coletti Receives NSF CAREER award

Dr. Filippo Coletti, Assistant Professor of Aerospace Engineering and Mechanics and IEM member, received an NSF CAREER award for his research in respiratory fluid mechanics. Coletti's project will address the influence of the structure of the respiratory system, such as branching patterns in the bronchi and the properties of airway walls, on its function, including how inhaled therapeutic drugs or harmful particulates are transported in the lungs. The respiratory fluid mechanics will be studied in 3D printed airways by means of Magnetic Resonance Imaging and Particle Image Velocimetry. This project will also engage underrepresented K-12 students, who will learn about fluid mechanics and physiology, while being sensitized on the effects of smoking and poor air quality.

NSF Engineering boosts 146 early-career researchers with awards totaling $73M

03/26/15 - IEM Member Awarded Catherine Mills Davis Land Grant Chair

Dr. David Polly, Professor of Orthapaedic Surgery, Chief of Spine Surgery, and IEM member has been awarded the Catherine Mills Davis Land Grant Chair in Biomechanical Engineering in Orthopaedic Surgery. Dr. Polly is nationally and internationally recognized for biomechanics and outcomes research, and is well known for his work in scoliosis. His other specializations include spine surgery and pediatric orthopaedics.

Medical School News - David Polly Awarded Davis Chair

03/26/15 - Killing Cancer at the Nanoparticle Level

Dr. Jayanth Panyam, Associate Professor of Pharmaceutics and IEM member, was featured in the American Society for Mechanical Engineers (ASME) News for his work in nanoengineering, and a method he has been developing for treating lung cancer with the use of nanoparticles. Dr. Panyam’s research shows an alternative way to manage lung cancer that does not involve chemotherapy, radiation, or a lobectomy. This treatment revolves around the use of an inhaler and magnets and results in attacking the surface of the tumor. First, the patient’s inhale the superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles into their lungs. Next, the lungs heat up due to the surrounding oscillating magnetic field. By localizing particles in or next to tumor cells and then heating them up, the tumor cells die. Dr. Panyam’s study noted nanoparticles would likely attach to peptides that would then attach onto tumors. Dr. Panyam’s lab is currently working on creating a protein cocktail that would help the nanoparticles travel through the tumor matrix to attack the tumor from the inside.

ASME News - Nanoparticles Kill Cancer

03/26/15 - Improving Optical Communication with Black Phosphorus

IEM members Dr. Mo Li, Assistant Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Dr. Steven Koester, Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, have had their research study of black phosphorus and the improvement of optical communication published in Nature Photonics. In the new study by Dr. Li and Dr. Koester, and Nathan Youngblood and Che Chen, researchers use an ultrathin black phosphorus film to demonstrate high-speed data communication on nanoscale optical circuits. Black phosphorus is highly effective at detecting light, making it useful for optical applications, and is ideal for this new type of adaptable electronics technology.

Nature Photonics - Waveguide-integrated black phosphorus photodetector with high responsivity and low dark current
Discover - Black phosphorus is new 'wonder material' for improving optical communication

03/26/15 - UMN Grand Challenges Research Strategies Group – IEM Member

Dr. Donald Simone, Division Director for Basic Sciences, School of Dentistry, and IEM member, will serve on the University of Minnesota’s Grand Challenges Research Strategies Group. Convened by Provost Hanson, the workgroup will help to shape the grand-challenges research priorities. Dr. Simone was selected as a distinguished faculty member who is deeply respected and accomplished in his field. He joins a group of senior faculty who will take an expansive and informed view and be open to extensive consultation with all levels and elements of campus.

This group has been charged with gathering perspectives from across campus on the cross-disciplinary areas of research and scholarship where the University of Minnesota has, or are poised to have, exceptional strength and a competitive advantage. In consultation with faculty, staff, students, and relevant external experts, this group will suggest which of these areas might best align with the Grand Challenge criteria outlined by the Strategic Planning Workgroup.

U of M - Strategic Planning

03/26/15 - 2015 Award for Outstanding Contributions to Post Baccalaureate, Graduate, and Professional Education

Dr. Shashi Shekhar, Professor of Computer Science and Engineering, and IEM member received the University of Minnesota’s 2015 Award for Outstanding Contributions to Graduate and Professional Education. Dr. Shekhar’s massive open online course, encyclopedia, textbook, and survey papers have helped educate tens of thousands of students worldwide. He has co-authored over 300 publications with 75 graduate advisees, many of whom have risen to leadership roles in academia, industry, and government. He also led an Interdisciplinary Graduate Education, Research, and Training program and co-founded the professional Master of Geographic Information Science Degree.

Since 1998-1999, the University of Minnesota has recognized a select group of faculty members for their outstanding contributions to post baccalaureate, graduate, and/or professional education. This honor is awarded annually to exceptional candidates nominated by their colleges.

U of M - Scholars Walk

03/26/15 - High-Fat Foods – Star Tribune Features IEM Member in the Debate

Dr. David Jacobs, Professor of Epidemiology and Community Health and IEM member, was featured in an article by the Star Tribune in regards to the current debate surrounding the consuming of foods that are high in fat. In the article Dr. Jacobs discusses a new but necessary view on the debate stating that a new approach to fat consumption is needed. Dr. Jacobs stated the old message of consuming “a low amount of saturated fat” is not entirely correct, as not all fats are the same. In the article, Dr. Jacobs also offers advice on what people should eat for good health and discusses the confusing nature of this nutritional debate.

StarTribune - A new debate is swirling around high-fat foods

03/26/15 - New Technology Shapes How Neurologists Treat Epilepsy

KSTP featured a story on NeuroPace RNS System, a new device that is being used to treat epilepsy. Dr. Cornelius Lam, Professor of Neurosurgery, and IEM member was featured in the new story consulting the patient who had the device implanted. The NeuroPace System monitors brain wave activity to detect seizures before they occur, by using electrodes implanted in the patient’s brain. The device then administers electric pulses to help the patient’s brain return to normal function. This device will reduce the need for medication and will benefit epilepsy patients who have not benefitted in the past from surgical treatment.

KSTP - New Technology Shapes How Neurologists Treat Epilepsy

03/26/15 - Brain-Computer Interface Technology Featured in New General Electric Invention Factory Series

General Electric (GE) has launched a new video series entitled “Invention Factory” in which a University of Minnesota study on brain-computer interface (BCI) technology, led by IEM Director Dr. Bin He, was featured. In the episode “How Will Mind Overcome Matter” Dr. He’s lab shows by using noninvasive BCI and their thoughts, it is possible to steer a flying robot. It is the hope that this technology may someday allow for disabled people to regain function by controlling artificial limbs, wheelchairs, or other devices. This study was previously published on YouTube in the video entitled “Mind Over Mechanics”.

Invention Factory - How Will Mind Overcome Matter?

03/26/15 - A More Precise Diagnosis for Oral Cancer

Dr. Curtis Corum, Assistant Professor of Radiology at the Center for Magnetic Resonance Research and IEM member, spoke to Health Talk in regards to a new technique named Multi-Band SWIFT (MB-SWIFT) which allows for the better identification of oral cancer in the jawbone. Unlike previous techniques of oral cancer identification such as CT scans and clinical examinations, MB-SWIFT makes it much easier to see if cancer has reached the jaw by providing sharper images and brightening cortical bone. This new technique makes it possible for clinicians to forgo unnecessary procedures such as a biopsy or surgery to determine if the cancer has reached the jawbone. The future of this technique is the hopeful continued translation of this form of oral cancer diagnosis and making it more widely available to patients and their doctors.

Health Talk - Research snapshot: A more precise diagnosis for oral cancer

03/26/15 - The Scott D. and Susan D. Augustine Biomedical Engineering Research Fellowship

The Institute for Engineering in Medicine is proud to announce that Miriam Smetak has been awarded a 2015-2016 Scott D. and Susan D. Augustine Fellowship. Graduating in 2010 from the University of Southern California with a BS in Aerospace Engineering, and a BA in Interdisciplinary Archaeology, Miriam is part of the SONIC Lab under Dr. Hugh Lim. Through the fellowship program, Miriam will be able to assist Dr. Lim investigating and developing new neuromodulation techniques for treating tinnitus and hyperacusis.

Every year IEM grants up to three fellowships recognizing outstanding students participating in the MD/MS Dual-Degree Program through the University of Minnesota's Medical School and Department of Biomedical Engineering. This program uniquely prepares new physicians as opinion leaders and bridge builders between medicine and engineering in the evolving biomedical engineering/healthcare industry, a field that applies high-tech research to improvements in health. Students must be admitted into both the Medical School and Biomedical Engineering programs at the University of Minnesota to qualify, and are able to complete their MS in one year due to credits applying to both programs.

Read More about the MD/MS Program and the Augustine Fellowship

03/26/15 - University of Minnesota Student Julia Brekke Receives Fulbright Award

University of Minnesota student Julia Brekke was awarded a 2015-2016 Fulbright Student Award to travel to Germany. Brekke, an undergraduate student at the Department of Biomedical Engineering, has been working in the lab of IEM Member, Afshin Divani, Assistant Professor of Neurology and Neurosurgery, and received a fellowship last year from the American Heart Association for her work on a cardiac resuscitation procedure. She is hoping to be admitted into medical school at the conclusion of her BA.

02/26/15 - Dr. Robert Tranquillo Elected IAMBE Fellow

Dr. Robert Tranquillo, Distinguished McKnight University Professor and Head of the University of Minnesota’s Department of Biomedical Engineering, and member of the Institute for Engineering in Medicine, was elected a Fellow of the International Academy of Medical and Biological Engineering (IAMBE), in honor of his distinguished contributions to and leadership in the field of medical and biological engineering at an international level.

Every year existing fellows of the academy vote on new members who have been nominated and screened by the academy membership committee. IAMBE also offers an Early Career Award which is used to encourage and support young researchers as they develop their careers. Additional information on IAMBE, as well as a list of current fellows can be found on their website.

IAMBE Website

02/26/15 - Dr. Matthew Johnson Receives McKnight Land-Grant Professorship

Dr. Matthew Johnson, Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering, and member of the Institute for Engineering in Medicine, was awarded the designation of McKnight Land-Grant Professor for the years of 2015 – 2017.

Bridging engineering and neuroscience disciplines, Dr. Johnson’s research is being recognized for building a principled understanding for how to target electrical stimulation within the brain to correct abnormal patterns of neural activity. Using these principles, he is creating new neural interface technology to more precisely modulate networks of neurons within the brain to ultimately improve the clinical care of individuals with neurological and neuropsychiatric disorders.

2015-2017 McKnight Land-Grant Professors

02/26/15 - The Drone Revolution Is Going Mainstream – U of MN Study Featured on ‘Good Morning America’

ABC Good Morning America published a story on the drone phenomenon, and featured the University of Minnesota’s BCI study, led by Institute for Engineering in Medicine Director, Dr. Bin He. The BCI study featured in the video news piece demonstrates how brainwaves through an EEG cap are used to control a flying robot. Monitoring electrical activity from the brain, the 64 scalp electrodes of the EEG cap report the signals (or lack of signals) they detect to a computer, which translates the pattern into an electronic command. ABC Good Morning America commented on how drone technology is changing the way people interact with the world around them, and says that the sky is the limit. Dr. He’s BCI study aims to apply the flying robot technology to help disabled patients interact with the world.

ABC Good Morning America
Mind Over Mechanics

02/26/15 - Daily Low-Dose Aspirin for Heart Attack Prevention

Dr. Alan T. Hirsch, Professor of Medicine, Director of the University of Minnesota’s Vascular Medicine Program, and IEM Member, is leading a study that aims to minimize the rate of stroke and heart attack in groups of people that are of moderate to high risk–men age 45 to 79 and women age 55 to 79.

The result of a trial version of this study was that the proportion of the people in the targeted population who took a low-dose aspirin rose from 36 percent to 54 percent in four months, helping them better manage their health. In article recent article published in the StarTribune, Dr. Hirsch explains that this was a higher percentage increase than expected, and that if this same pattern could be achieved statewide, as many as 7,000 first heart attacks and strokes a year could be prevented over the next five years. Dr. Hirsch also emphasized the importance of individuals to first determine with their doctor if they have the right heart risk rate and the lowest bleeding risk before committing to the program.

U of MN to expand low-dose aspirin campaign as stroke, heart attack prevention

02/26/15 - U of MN Collaboration with Industry – Innovative Approach to Fighting Cancer

Dr. Perry Hackett, Professor of Genetics, Cell Biology and Development, and IEM Member, developed, with his international team, a DNA-based gene delivery platform called “Sleeping Beauty” (SB). This genetic technology, combined with University of Texas’ M.D. Anderson Cancer Center’s cancer therapies, has resulted in a $100 million licensing deal with Intrexon Corp., a biotech company, and Ziopharm Oncology, a pharmaceutical company. Instead of designating royalties to be paid after the launch, the licensing deal arranged for the University of Minnesota to be paid up-front for the use of the non-viral gene therapy treatment technology. A portion of these funds will be used to provide substantial support for future research at the university. Dr. Hackett states that it’s an exciting victory for genome engineering technology — one that promises a sigh of relief from sufferers of many genetic diseases.

Industry, university deal moves novel cancer treatment forward
Nasdaq: Intrexon, ZIOPHARM, and MD Anderson in Exclusive CAR T Pact

02/26/15 - Minnesota Black Bear Research Partnership with Medtronic – Preserving Organs and Preventing Clots

Dr. Paul Iaizzo, Associate Director for Education and Outreach, Institute for Engineering in Medicine, and Professor of Surgery; Integrative Biology and Physiology; and the Carlson School of Management, was featured in an article by Legacy Magazine discussing his ongoing partnership with Medtronic Inc., on his Minnesota Black Bear research.

Dr. Iaizzo, with the collaboration of Tim Laske, Vice President of Research and Development of Medtronic AF Solutions, and U of MN scientist Dr. Tinen Iles, is studying black bear hibernation and how components of hibernation could prevent the risk of blood clots in sedentary humans. Dr. Iaizzo is also investigating how components of hibernation induction triggers can be used in human patients in order to increase the functioning of affected tissues or to preserve organs that are to be used in transplant surgery. Dr. Iaizzo states that Medtronic’s support allows for the training of undergraduate and graduate medical students, promotion of medical careers to young children, better understanding of cardiac health, and the development of black bear research.

From the lab to the north woods

02/26/15 - 2015 – 2016 IEM Interdisciplinary Doctoral Fellowship Recipients

The Institute for Engineering in Medicine is pleased to host two University of Minnesota Interdisciplinary Doctoral Fellows in 2015-2016. Fellows are selected for this honor through the University's Graduate School, allowing them to benefit from interaction with faculty at one of the University's interdisciplinary research centers or institutes. IEM would like to congratulate this year's recipients.

Julia Quindlen
Department of Biomedical Engineering
"Mechano-to-neural Transduction of the Pacinian Corpuscle"
Mentors: Drs. Victor Barocas and Martha Flanders

Kathryn Geldart
Department of Chemical Engineering
"Engineering Antibiotic Probiotics for the Treatment of Vancomycin-Resistant Enterococcus"
Mentors: Drs. Yiannis Kaznessis and Gary Dunny

01/30/15 - Dr. Jian-Ping Wang Featured in the Star Tribune

Dr. Jian-Ping Wang, Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and co-chair of Medical Devices Theme of the Institute for Engineering in Medicine, discussed the details of his research and vision of the future for spintronics with the StarTribune. His breakthroughs in applied science may revolutionize medical and environmental testing to detect disease from a drop of body fluid. Dr. Wang is also director of the Center for Spintronic Materials, Interfaces and Novel Architectures (C-SPIN) at the University of Minnesota. Spintronic CPU, a new computer central processing unit Dr. Wang is currently working on, would use less energy than current systems and would provide persistent data storage and logical functions.

StarTribune – In tiny electrons, University of Minnesota professor sees infinite potential

01/30/15 - Dr. David R. Jacobs Comments on Whole Grain Health Study

Dr. David R. Jacobs, Professor of the Division of Epidemiology and Community Heath in the School of Public Health, and member of the Institute for Engineering in Medicine, commented in January to Fox News about a new whole grain health study put forward by the Harvard School of Public Health. Dr. Jacob explained to Fox News that the study, along with other studies at alternate institutions, shows the benefits of whole grains in one’s diet, and its ability to reduce mortality from cardiovascular disease. Dr. Jacobs also agrees with the study’s lead researcher, Dr. Qi Sun, that it is important for whole grains to be included in a healthy diet.

Fox News – Eating whole grains may help you live longer, study finds

01/30/15 - Stent Surgery vs. Walking Treatment - Dr. Alan Hirsch Weighs In

Dr. Alan T. Hirsch, Professor of Medicine, Director of the Vascular Medicine Program, and IEM member, spoke to the Star Tribune about the benefits of stent surgery versus treadmill therapy. CLEVER, the federally funded exercise program trial Dr. Hirsch chairs, showed that, with patients who either participated in a six-month supervised exercise program, received a stent, or took part of a prescription drug treatment, those who participated in supervised exercise walked farther, but those who received a stent noted a better quality of life. Despite these findings, Dr. Hirsch, who specializes in cardiovascular prevention and vascular medicine and peripheral arterial disease (PAD), explained that having stents put in is still the most popular treatment for PAD.

StarTribune – Leg pain? U study says walk it off and avoid the stent surgery

01/30/15 - Dr. Emil Lou Lab – Cancer Treatment by Cutting Cell Communication

Dr. Emil Lou, Assistant Professor of Hematology, Oncology, and Transplantation, and member of the Institute for Engineering in Medicine, along with fellow researchers in his lab, have found that microRNAs can travel via nanotube pipelines directly between cancer cells, and between cancer cells and non-cancer cells. Dr. Lou and his collaborators aim to better understand nanotube function in order to determine how to cut communication of microRNAs to their target cancer and non-cancer cells, to create a therapy treatment for cancers. Dr. Lou’s research was recently published in the November issue of Translational Research, which also named him the Featured New Investigator of the month.

Health Talk
Translational Research, Volume 165, Issue 2 (Institutional log-in required)

12/29/14 - Jay Zhang Published in Cell Stem Cell

A recent product of collaborations facilitated through the Institute for Engineering in Medicine (IEM) was highlighted in an article published by Cell Stem Cell titled, “Cardiac Repair in a Porcine Model of Acute Myocardial Infarction with Human Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell-Derived Cardiovascular Cells”. Brought together through IEM’s Cardiovascular Engineering theme group, the article’s co-authorship includes three IEM Members; Dr. Lei Ye, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Dr. James R. Dutton, Assistant Professor of Genetics, Cell Biology & Development, and Dr. Jianyi Zhang, Professor of Medicine (Cardiology), Engdahl Family Foundation Chair in Cardiovascular Regenerative Therapies, and Co-Chair of IEM Cardiovascular Engineering Theme. Theme groups have been developed at IEM in order for faculty to better collaborate, and focus their efforts to develop projects such as this. Cell Stem Cell publishes research reports describing novel results of unusual significance in all areas of stem cell research.

Cell Stem Cell, Vol 15, Issue 6

12/29/14 - Furthering University of Minnesota Ovarian Cancer Research

Dr. Amy Skubitz, Professor of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology and IEM member, recently spoke to CBS Minnesota about her life’s work in the study of ovarian cancer and research at the University of Minnesota. Driven into research as a graduate student when her mother was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 1982, Skubitz works hard to help women increase their survival rates. Currently one of Dr. Skubitz’s goals is to identify ovarian cancer biomarkers by using normal pap tests. Dr. Skubitz’s research over the last ten years has received over $700,000 from the Minnesota Ovarian Cancer Alliance (MOCA), she believes that with the work being performed today, can lead to better diagnostic tests allowing patients be helped earlier on the process.

CBS - MOCA Fundraising Furthers U of M Ovarian Cancer Research

12/29/14 - IEM Member Receives 2014 Outstanding Achievement Award

Dr. J. Jeffrey McCullough, Professor of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology, American Red Cross Professor of Transfusion Medicine, and IEM Member, was awarded a 2014 Outstanding Achievement by the Ohio State University College of Medicine. Graduating in 1963, Dr. McCullough received this award in recognition of his contributions to organized medicine including being the founding President of the National Marrow Donor Program, which identifies volunteers for stem cell transplant, as well as manages the largest and most diverse stem cell donor registry in the world. Dr. McCullough has also served as the Editor-in-Chief of the journal Transfusion and is a Life Trustee of the American Board of Pathology and served as its President. He has authored more than 300 reports in the medical literature including his own textbook Transfusion Medicine, been the recipient of multiple NIH grants and advised the National Blood Programs in Italy, England, Singapore, Canada, Tanzania, and Afghanistan.

Ohio State University - 2014 Alumni Outstanding Achievement Award

12/29/14 - Osteosarcoma Research Featured by the Pioneer Press

Dr. David Largaespada, IEM Member, and Professor of Genetics, Cell Biology, and Development, was recently featured in an interview by the Pioneer Press covering his is research team sponsored by the Zach Sobiech Osteosarcoma Fund at the Children’s Cancer Research Fund. Zach Sobiech, a Stillwater Minnesota high school student whose family founded the charity, passed away in May 2013 due to Osteoscarcoma. Before his death Zach had written the number 1 hit song “Clouds” whose proceeds raised nearly $900,000 for his cause. Dr. Largaespada explained the research team’s significant progress made in the identification of causes and the developing treatments of osteosarcoma in the article.

Pioneer Press – Zach Sobiech Passed Away in 2013, but in Many Ways He’s Still Here
YouTube – "Clouds" by Zach Sobiech

12/29/14 - American Heart Association Hero Award

Dr. Daniel Duprez, Professor of Medicine and IEM Member, received the 2014 American Heart Association Hero Award at the 20th Heart and Stroke Gala held in Minneapolis on November 8th. Every year the American Heart and the American Stroke Association honors researchers, health care providers, and survivors every year at their gala. During the 20th Anniversary event, Dr. Duprez was recognized for his work providing outstanding comprehensive care to patients with cardiovascular disease.

YouTube - Heart and Stroke Heroes

12/29/14 - Ask Patients to Consider Aspirin Use

The Minnesota Heart Health Program is working to reduce heart attacks and strokes in Minnesota through a campaign called “Ask About Aspirin”. Dr. Alan Hirsch, IEM Member and Professor of Medicine, commented on the program in an article by the St. Cloud Times. The program trains health care professions in the appropriate use of aspirin and aims to increase awareness of the benefits of regular low-dose aspirin use to reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke among those who have the greatest risk; women aged 55 – 76 and men aged 45-79.

In the article Dr. Hirsch explains how much easier it is for adult patients to take 81 milligrams of aspirin per day as compared to the other recommended risk reductions: losing weight, quitting smoking, and taking a statin for cholesterol. There is also a higher percentage of reduction risk by taking an aspirin than compared to the other methods. The campaign’s aim is to encourage patients to discuss aspirin with their physicians and to encourage physicians to consider recommending aspirin to help prevent heart attacks and strokes in their patients.This campaign is sponsored by the Lillehei Heart Institute and University of Minnesota School of Public Health.

SCTimes – Campaign asks Patients to Consider Aspirin Use

12/29/14 - Treating Eye Disease – Genetics of Blind Cave Fish Study

IEM Member, and Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Neurosciences, Dr. Dara Koozekanani, spoke of the collaborative efforts in the study of a species of translucent, eyeless cave fish in a recent article published by the University of Minnesota. The study examines the genetic makeup of Astyanaz mexicanus, a species of blind cave fish in an effort to better understand certain aspects of humanity such as sleep disorders, degenerative eye diseases, and albinism. Dr. Koozekanani states in the article that this study could play a pivotal role in eye disease research. This is the first ever genomic sequence of Astyanaz mexicanus. Dr. Koozekanani hopes that further knowledge of the complex genetics of eye degeneration in this species will lead to the development of effective treatments for eye disease in humans.

Minnesota Daily - Genetics of Blind Cave Fish Lays Ground for Treating Eye Disease

11/25/14 - Advances in Mapping Brain Dynamics – IEM Director Speaks at NIH

On September 15, 2014 IEM Director, and Distinguished McKnight Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Dr. Bin He, delivered the Integrative Medicine Lecture at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, which was attended by a large group of NIH officials and researchers. Focusing on “How to Map the Dynamics of your Brain – From EEG to BCI,” Dr. He discussed his research and the importance of engineering innovation to map brain dynamics for understanding brain functions and aiding communication between the mind and an external device. Dr. He’s lecture was later highlighted in the October 24, 2014 issue of NIH RECORD.

NIH Record: Advances in Mapping Brain Dynamics

11/25/14 - MDC Director Gave Keynote Lectures – GCBME 2014 and Medical Devices Summit Midwest

Dr. Art Erdman, IEM Member, and Director of the Medical Devices Center, presented a keynote address at the Medical Devices Summit Midwest in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on October 1, 2014, titled “The Innovation Center Wave - but are they working?” Discussions at the summit focused on cutting edge software and devices on the market. Attendees there were given the opportunity to work closely with thought leaders to share ideas, experiences, and strategies toward the goal of revolutionizing the medical devices industry.

Prof. Erdman presented a second keynote lecture on October 11, 2014 at the 1st Global Conference on Biomedical Engineering (GCBME 2014), held in conjunction with the 9th Asian-Pacific Conference on Medical and Biological Engineering (APCMBE 2014) at National Cheng Kung University in Tainan, Taiwan. This lecture, “The University of Minnesota’s Medical Devices Center, Its Goals, Fellows Program and Accomplishments,” was presented to researchers, students, and communities from around the world seeking to share the latest research and innovative developments in biomedical engineering.

Medical Devices Summit Midwest
GCBME 2014 / APCMBE 2014

11/25/14 - Nokia Sensing XCHALLENGE Winner – University of Minnesota led Team

A team from the University of Minnesota led by Prof. Jian-Ping Wang, IEM Member and Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, has been selected as one of five Distinguished Award Prize winners, valued at $120,000, at the 2014 Nokia Sensing XCHALLENGE, a global competition to develop breakthrough medical sensing technologies that will ultimately enable faster diagnoses and easier personal health monitoring.

The Golden Gopher Magnetic Biosensing Team developed a handheld device, named “Z-Lab,” designed to detect various ailments using indicators, or biomarkers, found in bodily fluids at the earliest stages of disease, often when symptoms are not even present. A drop of fluid is placed on a small biochip (~10 millimeters by 10 millimeters). Results of up to 10 health indicators are displayed within 15 minutes on a smartphone, tablet, or other mobile device. The sensor can also be used for monitoring other factors that can impact one’s health, such as the mercury concentration in water.

“The high sensitivity of this device allows it to detect various ailments—including infections, heart disease and even cancer—faster, easier and earlier than ever before,” said Dr. Wang. “We see this as a prevention-based device that will ultimately save lives.”

The Team includes professors and students from the University of Minnesota, doctors from the Mayo Clinic and engineers from several corporate partners, including Zepto Life Technology, a University startup company commercializing this technology.

Teams | Nokia Sensing XCHALLENGE
Golden Gopher Magnetic Biosensing

11/25/14 - UMN Team Finished 6th in American Epilepsy Society Seizure Prediction Challenge

IEM member and Electrical and Computer Engineering Professor Keshab Parhi, along with his graduate student Zisheng Zhang (team KPZZ), finished 6th out of 506 entries in the International Seizure Prediction Challenge, sponsored by the National Institutes of Health National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NIH-NINDS), the Epilepsy Foundation, and the American Epilepsy Society. The contest was organized by the University of Pennsylvania and the Mayo Clinic. The competition included interictal and preictal data from five dogs and two humans. Prof. Parhi's research on seizure prediction has been funded in part by the Institute for Engineering in Medicine.

Additional details about the American Epilepsy Society Seizure Prediction Challenge can be found through the following link:
American Epilepsy Society Seizure Prediction Challenge

11/25/14 - Kalpna Gupta's Work on Pain in SCD Highlighted in Nature Outlook

Pain is one of the most debilitating outcomes of sickle cell disease (SCD). Individuals with SCD can suffer with chronic pain and unpredictable intermittent pain throughout life. Even though pain in SCD is difficult to treat and requires high dose of opioids and hospitalization, its mechanisms remained unknown. IEM member and Co-Chair of Cellular and Molecular Bioengineering Theme, and Professor of Medicine, Dr. Kalpna Gupta started examining the mechanisms of this pain few years ago.

In a recent issue of Nature Highlights (Sickle cell disease, Nature Vol 515, No. 7526_supp ppS1-S49) Gupta’s work is highlighted for its contribution to understanding the mechanisms of pain and why higher doses of opioids are required. In the article, “Life Beyond the pain” it says, “Another of Gupta’s findings may help to explain why the effects of opioid drugs fade so quickly for people with sickle cell, and why they need higher doses than people with other condi­tions who have similar levels of pain. Nerves in the skin and spinal cords of the sickle-cell mice showed a reduced level of the μ-opioid recep­tor, which enables opioid painkillers such as morphine to take effect.” Accompanying figures in the article show abnormalities in peripheral nerve fibers in the skin of sickle mice that may contribute to chronic pain in SCD. These studies laid down the foundation of pain research in SCD.

Nature Outlook - Neurobiology: Life Beyond the Pain

11/25/14 - Tommy Vaughan and Jianping Wang Named IEEE Fellow

J. Thomas Vaughan, IEM member and Professor of Radiology, and Jianping Wang, IEM member and Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, have been named an IEEE Fellow for contributions to high field magnetic resonance imaging technology and for contributions to magnetic material and spintronic devices for magnetic recording, information processing and biomedical applications, respectively.

The IEEE Grade of Fellow is conferred by the IEEE Board of Directors upon a person with an outstanding record of accomplishments in any of the IEEE fields of interest. The total number selected in any one year cannot exceed one-tenth of one- percent of the total voting membership. IEEE Fellow is the highest grade of membership and is recognized by the technical community as a prestigious honor and an important career achievement. The IEEE is the world’s leading professional association for advancing technology for humanity. Through its 400,000 members in 160 countries, the IEEE is a leading authority on a wide variety of areas in ranging from aerospace systems, computers and telecommunications to biomedical engineering, electric power and consumer electronics.

10/27/14 - Jianping Wang’s Team Selected a Finalist in Nokia Sensing XCHALLENGE

Golden Gopher Magnetic Biosening, the University of Minnesota team led by Dr. Jianping Wang, Distinguished McKnight University Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and IEM Theme Co-Chair for Medical Devices, was chosen as one of 12 groups to advance to the final round of competition at the Nokia Sensing XCHALLENGE, a $2.25 million global competition to accelerate the availability of hardware sensors and software sensing technology individuals use to access, understand, and improve their health and well-being. One of only two university teams from United States entering the final round on November 1, 2014, Dr. Wang’s group will compete by showcasing a broad range of new sensing and sensor technologies that will help accelerate a mobile health revolution.

Information about the competition can be found through the following website:

Nokia Sensing XCHALLENGE

10/27/14 - Pulse Oximetry Screening –Testing that Saves Lives

IEM Member and Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Dr. Lazaros Kochilas, created a pilot study in six hospitals to see how easily a test could be implemented that could save the lives of newborns in Minnesota. Recently featured on WCCO TV, Dr. Kochilas’ study began in the aftermath of informing a Minnesota family, the Saarinens, about a murmur that was detected in their seemingly healthy baby daughter due to a heart defect. This simple screening done before discharging a newborn is noninvasive, takes less than a minute, but is sometimes not performed by physicians.

After her daughter’s recovery in the wake of a successful emergency surgery the child’s mother, Annamarie Saarinen was an advocate for change. She brought an idea of using pulse oximetry screening to screen all newborns to her daughter’s doctor, Dr. Kochilas. His study has led to a new state law that requires Minnesota hospitals to use the pulse oximetry screening test to screen every newborn before they are discharged.

CBS Minnesota (WCCO-TV)

10/27/14 - Funding Begins for the BRAIN Initiative

Several members of the Institute for Engineering in Medicine (IEM) were recently awarded funds for the BRAIN (Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Technologies) initiative to map the brain. Announced by the Obama administration in 2013, the initiative aims to develop new technologies for basic neuroscience, generate ways to classify and analyze the brain’s trillions of connections, and create new ways to map brain circuits, among other goals. In all, over $100M in research grants have been initially awarded across multiple federal agencies, including the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and National Science Foundation (NSF), and Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

IEM members were awarded three BRAIN projects from NIH and NSF. Dr. Wei Chen, Professor of Radiology and IEM Medical Imaging Theme Chair, will lead an NIH grant to develop MRIs capable of mapping brains at the cellular level. Dr. Mike Garwood and Dr. Tommy Vaughan, Professors of Radiology and IEM Members, will lead an NIH grant for their work to produce high-quality images from a portable magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machine that can be worn like a helmet. Dr. Bin He, Professor of Biomedical Engineering and IEM director, will lead a NSF BRAIN EAGER grant researching high-resolution imaging of brain activity through multi-modal acousto-electromagnetic technology, in which Drs. Emad Ebbini (Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering), Wei Chen and Jianping Wang (Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering) are participating.

“There is a tremendous momentum being built up in federal agencies on BRAIN initiative which promises to lead to a better understanding of the brain and enhance US leadership in brain related neurotechnology,” said Dr. Bin He, who serves in the NIH BRAIN Multi-Council Working Group, and was recently invited to the White House to discuss the BRAIN initiative.

Wall Street Journal
NSF News

10/27/14 - Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder Introduces IEM Member Jakub Tolar Onstage during Concert

Eddie Vedder, front man for the rock band Pearl Jam, introduced Dr. Jakub Tolar, Director of Stem Cell Institute and an IEM Member, to the crowd at their October 19th concert in St. Paul, Minnesota. Vedder, co-founder of the non-profit organization, EB Research Partnership, wanted to honor Dr. Tolar and the University of Minnesota’s Stem Cell Institute for their work in finding a cure for Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB), a painful skin and internal condition that prevents patients with it to anchor a connection between their dermis and epidermis, resulting in painful blisters covering their bodies from daily activity.

NBC News –

10/27/14 - Brain Surgery – Is Shortening the Training Time a Good Idea?

IEM Members Drs. Andrew Grand, Stephen Haines, Matthew Hunt, and Cornelius Lam of the University of Minnesota’s Department of Neurology, were featured in an article by the Star Tribune and NEWS Medical, an online medical information provider for healthcare professions, on whether or not it is a good idea to shorten training time when it comes to brain surgery. This controversial idea of shortening schedules for neurosurgery residents from more than 120 hours a week to around 80 hours a week could create a major shift the way future medical practitioners are trained.

Star Tribune
News Medical

09/29/14 - The Annual IEM Conference and Retreat Successfully Held

The Annual Institute for Engineering in Medicine Conference and Retreat took place this year on September 22rd at the McNamara Alumni Center on the University of Minnesota’s Twin Cities Campus. Featuring keynote talks from world recognized leaders in medical and engineering research, this year’s conference attracted a sold out crowd of over 370 participants from the community, including members of industry. Following plenary talks, there were breakout sessions, and a career panel held where faculty groups and other interested parties engaged in strategic discussions on how to further enhance research collaboration between engineering and biomedicine, and between the University and industry.

During the evening was a highly engaged poster session featuring work of 136 University of Minnesota faculty, research centers, and students. Posters were divided into one of IEM’s five research themes – Cardiovascular Engineering, Neuroengineering, Cellular and Molecular Bioengineering, Medical and Biological Imaging, Medical Devices, and also into a separate group, Postdoctoral Posters. Students involved in each session were judged by a panel of UMN faculty on the quality of their presentations. Awards went to the top presentations in each category. Click here to see the list of winners of this year’s student and postdoc poster competition.

The Institute for Engineering in Medicine would like to thank all of you who were able to join us at this year’s conference and retreat. We look forward to seeing you Monday, September 21, 2015. Please save the date.

09/29/14 - 2014 American Society of Hematology Ernest Beutler Lectureship Winner

The American Society of Hematology awarded Dr. Robert Hebbel, IEM Member, Regents Professor, and George Clark Professor of Medicine, with the 2014 Ernest Beutler Lecture and Prize for his significant research advances in the area of sickle cell disease. Dr. Hebbel will present his lecture with joint awardee Dr. Michael DeBaun of Vanderbilt University School of Medicine on December 2014 at the 56th ASH Annual Meeting and Exposition in San Francisco California. Dr. Hebbel received the 2014 Ernest Beutler Prize for Basic Science, is credited with redefining the study of sickle cell disease, and has brought about multiple distinct areas of sickle cell research and numerous opportunities for new research careers.

American Society of Hematology>

09/29/14 - Yoga and Meditation May Help Train the Brain – New Study

A new study from the University of Minnesota shows how long term participation in yoga and meditation activities may help train the brain to better and more quickly control a computer with their minds. Dr. Bin He, IEM Director, leads this research study which was recently published in TECHNOLOGY, a new journal that features the development of cutting-edge new technologies in the fields of science and engineering. This study’s ultimate goal is to assist individuals who have brain diseases or who are paralyzed regain their independence and mobility. Read Fox news report and the article for additional information: FOX NEWS and Technology.

09/29/14 - DBS Through MRI

IEM Members Dr. Noam Harel, Associate Professor of Radiology and Neurosurgery, and Dr. Jerrold Vitek, Professor and Chair of the Department of Neurology are collaborating efforts to improve the accuracy of current targeting approaches and placement of deep brain stimulation (DBS) leads in the brain. DBS is a procedure that uses electrical impulses (stimulation) and has been shown to have a positive effect and improves symptoms associated with movement disorders. Drs. Harel and Vitek, along with a team of researchers at the Center for Magnetic Resonance Research (CMRR) at the University of Minnesota are using an MRI with the strength of 7 Tesla which results in more distinctive images. Additionally, they are completing cutting-edge research in microelectrode recording (MER) mapping. Their joint efforts are moving them closer to their goal of alleviating patients with severe movement disorders.

Health Talk>

09/29/14 - Theme Keynote Speaker – IEEE EMBC 2014

Dr. Bin He, IEM Director and Professor of Biomedical Engineering, recently delivered the Theme Keynote Lecture “Dynamic Mapping and Interfacing with the Human Brain” at the 2014 Annual International Conference of IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (EMBS) held in Chicago. The lecture covers research advancements made in Dr. He’s lab on human brain mapping and brain-computer interface. EMBS is one of the largest professional societies in biomedical engineering with about 3000 participants from all over the world in its annual conference.

Theme Keynote Speaker – EMBC 2014>

09/29/14 - Keynote Speaker – SMIT 2014

Dr. Art Erdman, IEM Member and Director of the Medical Devices Center, was an invited keynote speaker at the 26th International Conference of the Society for Medical Innovation and Technology (SMIT) on September 20, 2014 in Shanghai, China. He delivered the Gerhard Buess Lecture on "Helping Solve Our Health Care Dilemma-Physical and Virtual Medical Device Prototyping". SMIT is an international society that is dedicated to the multidisciplinary advancement of minimally invasive therapy as well as instrument manufacturing, bioengineering, and research.

Keynote Speaker - SMIT 2014

09/29/14 - 2014 Academy for Excellence in Health Research

Dr. David R. Jacobs, Jr., IEM Member, and Professor in the school of Public Health’s Division of Epidemiology and Community Health, was inducted into the Academic Health Center’s Academy for Excellence in Health Research. Dr. Jacobs Jr. is being honored for his enhancement of research identity for the University of Minnesota through his nationally and internationally recognized biomedical/health related work. Dr. Jacobs Jr.’s portrait will be added to the second floor of Moos Tower Academy display in honor of his achievement.

09/29/14 - 2014 Mentor of the Year

Dr. Kelvin Lim, IEM Member, Professor and Vice Chair for Research in the Department of Psychiatry, and Drs. T.J. and Ella M. Arneson Land-Grant Chair in Human Behavior, was named 2014 Mentor of the Year by the Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI). CTSI recognized Dr. Lim as an outstanding research mentor and awarded him $1,500 at the CTSI Reception and Poster session this month. Dr. Lim’s research interests include neuroimaging and novel treatments for psychiatric disorders and he currently teaches medical students, residents, and fellows with emphasis on neuroimaging and neuromodulation research.

Mentor of the Year

08/29/14 - 2014 Titans of Technology Honorees Announced

Each year the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal honors outstanding technology professionals and their supporters as part of their annual Titans of Technology award program. This year IEM Members Dr. Arthur Erdman and Dr. Jian-ping Wang of the University of Minnesota were among the honorees.

The Technology Advocate Award was given to Dr. Erdman, Director of the Medical Devices Center, and Richard C. Jordan Professor of Mechanical Engineering as recognition for his outstanding leadership in assisting, advancing, or accelerating the performance of technology companies and/or the technology community.

The Technology Inventor Award was given to Dr. Wang, Distinguished McKnight University Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering. The Technology Inventor Award recognizes the accomplishments of people who are responsible for the creation of breakthrough ideas, processes or products.

2014 Titans of Technology Honorees>

08/29/14 - IEM Member Appointed to NIH BRAIN Multi-Council Working Group

Dr. Bin He, IEM director and McKnight Distinguished University Professor of Biomedical Engineering, has been appointed to the NIH BRAIN multi-council working group (MCWG), which is co-chaired by Dr. Thomas Insel, Director of National Institute of Mental Health, and Dr. Story Landis, Director of National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. The MCWG will provide advice to the NIH BRAIN Initiative.

08/29/14 - Pioneering Treatment for Epidermolysis Bullosa

Dr. Jakub Tolar, IEM Member and Director of Stem Cell Institute, and Pediatric Blood and Marrow Transplant Physician at the University of Minnesota, recently had his pioneered treatment methods for Epidermolysis bullosa (EB) featured by NBC News. EB, a genetic disorder which prevents skin layers from attaching properly causes patients to have painful lesions, blisters, and sections of skin subject to constant detachment from the body. Ranging from mild to severe there are thought to be approximately 25,000 to 50,000 people living in the United States with EB today. The clinical trial and study led by Dr. Tolar focuses on treating EB by replacing the bone marrow from healthy persons which heals the symptoms of EB.

Untreated, EB will lead to painful disfigurement and in most cases an early death before the age of 30. Before Dr. Tolar’s study, treatment methods that would change the outcome of EB patients were not available. Dr. Tolar’s study and clinical trials are still experimental, but the treatment method he has pioneered has been the treatment of choice by patients with the most severe cases of EB.

Treating Epidermolysis Bullosa>

08/29/14 - The Neuroscience of Football

Dr. David Redish, IEM Member and Distinguished McKnight Professor of Neuroscience recently sat down with Sports Illustrated to shed light on how truly complex it is for football players to master the playbook, on a neurologic level -- “It’s like trying to play a musical instrument that’s scheming against you.”

What Dr. Redish explains in the article is that not only do players need to memorize hundreds of distinct plays, but also to translate that memorization into the correct action, sometimes with only seconds of warning, a process called consolidation. In addition, players need to perpetually anticipate plays the opposite team is attempting to conceal, all while working to elude the other team from anticipating their team’s moves. Dr. Redish explains that the decision-making of the procedural system is located in different parts of the brain which can account for some of this complexity. “Memorization can only take a player so far during game situations.”

Sports Illustrated – Brain Games: A Top Neuroscientist explains how Difficult it is to Master an NFL Playbook>

08/29/14 - Commercializing University Innovation Partnerships

IEM Members Dr. Allison Hubel and Dr. Jian-Ping Wang have been recognized by the University of Minnesota for the startup companies they have launched this year. Dr. Hubel, Director of the Biopreservation Core Resource, and Professor Mechanical Engineering, developed a company, MesoFlow, with the participation of BioCoR faculty.

MesoFlow offers a disposable device for cleaning and storing blood cells used in transplants and other medical procedures. Dr. Wang, Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, created Zepto Life Technology, to bring to market an inexpensive and portable device that verifies if human samples have traces of more than sixty diseases. Dr. Wang has also been recognized for the technology he developed, the fabrication of a powerful new type of magnet used by the startup company Niron Magnetics.

University Innovation Partnerships>

07/29/14 - AIDS-Related Infection - Better to Start Therapy Later

Patients suffering from cryptococcal meningitis, an AIDS-related brain infection affecting 300,000 patients worldwide annually, usually have a six month prognosis for survival. A recent study by Dr. David Boulware, IEM Member and Associate Director of Global Health Programs in Internal Medicine, shows that patients with this AIDS-related infection should start HIV therapy later than normally expected, four to six weeks after diagnosis. The result is a 15% better survival rate. Published in the New England Journal of Medicine, the study was conducted in Cape Town, South Africa and Uganda in collaboration with the University of Cape Town, Makerere University, and the Mbarara University of Science and Technology (MUST) with a $6.3 million grant from the NIH.

Timing of Antiretroviral Therapy after Diagnosis of Crypococcal Meningitis>

07/29/14 - Pioneered Seed Research

Dr. Daniel Saltzman, IEM Member and Associate Professor of Surgery, along with Dr. Arnold Leonard, Professor of Surgery, have pioneered the research of raspberry, black cumin, and Chardonnay grape seed oils to create an anti-oxidant rich beverage with powerful anti-inflammatory properties. The research was featured in an article by Dr. Saltzman, Dr. Leonard, and Mark Mueller, founder of company Botanic Oil Innovation, on Weeks MD, a Health News website.

Clinical trials are currently underway to evaluate the role of black cumin oil, also black raspberry oil in the modulation of the immune response in a colon cancer model at the University of Minnesota.

Seed Research in Minnesota>

07/29/14 - Richard R. Ernst Medal Awarded

Dr. Kamil Ugurbil, Director of the Center for Magnetic Resonance Research (CMRR), Professor of Radiology, and IEM Member was awarded the 2014 Richard R. Ernst Medal by the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zürich (ETH). Dr. Ugurbil was recognized for his work in increasing the understanding and relationships between the sciences, society, and politics. His 2014 Richard R. Ernst Lecture entitled “Towards understanding the Human Brain: A marriage between Physics and Neuroscience” was given at the ETH in Zürich Switzerland.

Richard R. Ernst, for whom the award is named, is a Swiss physical chemist who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1991 for contributions and development of Fourier Transform nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. Additional information about Dr. Ugurbil's presentation can be found through the following link.

Richard R. Ernst Lecture 2014>

07/29/14 - Five IEM Member's Research Teams Secure 2014 CTSI Funding

The Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) awarded five IEM Members and their teams funding from the CTSI’s Translational 2014 Grant Program. The program’s funding drives early stage translational research into patient benefit.

Dr. Conrado Aparicio, Department of Restorative Sciences
Project Title: GL13K Antimicrobial Peptide Coatings with Strong Resistance to Degradation and Sustained Activity for Preventing Dental Peri-implant Infection

Dr. Shai Ashkenazi, Department of Biomedical Engineering
Project Title: Depth-resolved Tissue Oxygen Needle Sensor

Dr. Arthur Erdman, Department of Mechanical Engineering
Project Title: Acoustic Modulation of the Phrenic Nerve for Treatment of Ventilator Induced Diaphragmatic Dysfunction

Dr. Benjamin Hackel, Department of Chemical Engineering/Material Science
Project Title: Molecular PET Imaging of MET with Small Protein Ligands

Dr. Jayanth Panyam, Department of Pharmaceutics
Project Title: A Novel Marker for Isolation and Characterization of Circulating Tumor Cells from Patients with Metastatic Cancer

07/29/14 - INTREPID Study - Curbing the Effects of Parkinson's

Dr. Jerrold Vitek, Professor, Head of the Department of Neurology, and IEM Member is leading a study along with Dr. Philip Star of the University of California Surgical Movement Disorder’s Clinic. This clinical study entitled “INTREPID” is sponsored by Boston Scientific and consists of twenty sites across the United States. The study’s aim is to investigate the efficacy and safety of Boston Scientific’s Vercise DBS System which uses deep brain stimulation (DBS) to decrease Parkinson’s symptoms such as slurred speech, involuntary shaking, and bodily stiffness. As part of the study, a node will be surgically inserted into the brain of close to 310 patients. The node will direct electrical current to stimulate certain areas of the brain. The INTREPID study is expected to be completed by the year 2021.

INTREPID Study - Curbing Effects of Parkinson's>

06/30/14 - Concerted Minnesota Research Effort on Stem Cell Therapy - $50M from the Capitol

After Dr. Jakub Tolar met with Majority Leader of the Minnesota House Erin Murphy, a new law was put into motion and passed. This legislation will provide $50 million dollars over the course of the next ten years toward the study of treatment for chronic illness. Dr. Tolar, director of the University of Minnesota Stem Cell Institute and IEM Member, met with Representative Murphy and expressed how necessary it is for there to be a concerted Minnesota research effort on stem cell therapy. With the help of Murphy, Governor Dayton signed the legislation that will provide seed money to Minnesota scientists for regenerative medicine research.

Dr. Tolar was interviewed by the Star Tribune, where the proposal process was explained. The article explains that a committee of outside experts will evaluate proposals followed by a final decision by a five member board including representatives from the U of MN, Mayo Clinic, and private industry in combination with two other stakeholder groups, one of which may be a patient representative. This new law will provide $4.35 million in grant funds in 2015.


06/30/14 - IEM Member Named the 2014 George E. Brown Memorial Lecturer by the American Heart Association

Each year the American Heart Association names one individual to be the George E. Brown Memorial Lecturer for that year. This year this honor went to Dr. Jianyi “Jay” Zhang, IEM Theme Co-Chair on Cardiovascular Engineering and Professor of Medicine (Cardiology).

Established in 1935 by friends to honor the memory of Dr. George E. Brown, the first lecture was given in 1937 and in each consecutive year since. Dr. Brown was chairman of a group responsible for the formation of the Section for the Study of Peripheral Circulation of the American Heart Association.

Dr. Zhang will present his lecture at the national conference held in Chicago, IL on November 15-19, 2014.

George E. Brown Memorial Lecture>

06/30/14 - Study: Rats Show Regret for Incorrect Decisions in Maze

Featured in National Geographic, BBC, Wired Magazine, The Washington Post, PBS, Huffington Post, among others is the study by Dr. David Redish on how rats show regret. Dr. Redish, IEM Member and Professor of Neuroscience, led the study and together with colleague Dr. Adam Steiner found that rats expressed regret through both behavior and neural activity. This behavior was expressed in specific situations set up by researchers to illicit regret. The study also examined how regret will affect future decisions and how the study can be used to take a further look into human feelings and behavior.

BBC, Wired, National Geographic, Huffington Post, PBS, Washington Post>

06/30/14 - How to Help Stroke Victims – F.A.S.T.

Dr. Andrew Grande, IEM Member and Assistant Professor of Neurosurgery, emphasizes the life-saving importance of quick action when you notice someone who shows the signs and symptoms of a stroke. The key is to act F.A.S.T. As Dr. Grande explains in a YouTube video created by the University of Minnesota’s Academic Health Center, F.A.S.T stands for: Face drooping, Arm weakness, Speech difficulty or slurring of words, and the action you need to take when you notice these symptoms —— Time to call 911 and get the victim to the hospital.

In the video Dr. Grande stresses the importance of recognizing the symptoms and of taking action because “the only thing that we can do for someone who is having a stroke is to reopen the blood vessels and we need to do that fast, within three hours” of when the symptoms first occur. Dr. Grande advises to call 911 immediately if you see signs that indicate someone may be having a stroke.

Signs and Symptoms of Stroke>

06/30/14 - Creating Value in Urology through Innovation

Dr. Gerald Timm, IEM Member and Professor of Urology delivered the presentation “Creating Value in Urology through Innovation” at the American Urological Association (AUA) Annual Meeting on May 16-21, 2014 in Orlando, Florida. Dr. Timm’s session focused on the importance of the connection of innovation and value when it comes to moving Urologic innovations into commerce.

Dr. Timm who is currently in the process of creating his fifth urologic device company, GT Urological, and who already has a device in clinical trials, has a substantial background on the topic. “Funding is an innovator’s largest problem”, stated Dr. Timm in AUA Daily News, and “the greater the value of an innovation can bring to practice, the more interest financial backers have.” The AUA Annual Meeting, in its 109th year, is noted as the largest gathering of Urologists in the world. This year’s meeting provided access to groundbreaking research, new guidelines, and the latest advances in urologic medicine.

AUA Daily News>

06/30/14 - WCCO 4 News Features Dr. Rafael Andrade and His Therapy Dog Sonja

On the weekends a special hospital volunteer at the University of Minnesota Medical Center can be seen walking the halls, on all fours. This volunteer, a Bernese mountain dog mix named Sonja, is brought by Dr. Andrade, Thoracic and Foregut Surgeon, and IEM Member, to visit with patients. On these visits Dr. Andrade focuses on the patients’ healthcare while Sonja uses her bedside manner to help patients relax and to provide a therapy for the soul.

Minnesota CBS affiliate, WCCO, recently produced a video and associated article on the importance of this therapy for Dr. Andrade’s patients. It explains the importance of spirituality and mental health to the physical healing process.

WCCO 4 News>

05/29/14 - Star Tribune Features University of Minnesota Interdisciplinary Team to Study Parkinson’s disease

Parkinson’s disease is the most common movement disorder in the US affecting over 1.5 million citizens. In order to address the needs of afflicted patients, and provide treatments addressing their conditions, a team of researchers at the University of Minnesota are working together to learn more about the disorder from the molecular level through clinical trials. Featured in a May article of the Star Tribune, IEM Members Dr. Jerrold Vitek, Professor and Department Chair of Neurology, and Dr. Paul Tuite, Associate Professor of Neurology, discuss their Parkinson’s disease research. Dr. Vitek is leading the interdisciplinary team study and hopes to create a Parkinson’s disease research program at a national stature. Dr. Paul Tuite is the co-investigator of BioFIND, a Michael J. Fox Foundation study to identify biomarkers track and diagnose the disease as it progresses in the body. IEM Member Dr. Colum MacKinnon and his lab’s work studying freezing-of-gait, an unfortunate symptom of Parkinson’s disease, is also featured.


05/29/14 - Dr. Andrew Grande – Stem Cells and Direct Reprogramming of the Brain

“Our goal is to help people restore the quality and functionality of life after a stroke,” Dr. Andrew Grande, IEM Member and Assistant Professor of Neurosurgery recently stated in regards to the study he is leading with Dr. Masato Nakafuku, Professor of Department of Pediatrics at the University of Cincinnati. The ongoing study, recently published in the Journal Nature Communications, examines the role of stem cells in the process of direct reprogramming of the brain after a stroke has occurred. Developing new neurons that are region-specific is one of the major obstacles Dr. Grande and his team have experienced. The next step in the research process is the development of translational studies for larger animal models and ultimately in the not so distant future, human trials.

Nature Communications>

05/29/14 - Dr. Paul Iaizzo and the Visible Heart Lab Featured in New Magazine

Dr. Paul Iaizzo, IEM Associate Director, Director of the Visible Heart Lab, and Professor of Surgery, is featured in the May issue of New Magazine published online through Worrell Design, an industrial design and product development company. The magazine features Dr. Iaizzo’s work with transplants and the reanimation process of hearts at the University of Minnesota’s Visible Heart Lab. Dr. Iaizzo expresses his views on the value of hands-on learning in order to gain insight into the function and anatomy of the heart and how the lives of patients can benefit from this first-hand experience. The Visible Heart Lab’s cardiovascular research, free and public educational tool Atlas of Human Cardiac Anatomy, 3D printers, and collection of over 400 heart specimens are also highlighted.

New Magazine Article - Worrell Design>

05/29/14 - Dr. John Foker Cardiac Patent Issued

Dr. John Foker, IEM Member and Professor of Surgery, has had a patent issued in the United States for an invention relating to compositions and methods for reducing progression to heart failure as a consequence of cardiac stress. The Methods and Compositions for Inhibiting Progression to Chronic Cardiac Failure patent has broad implications and high interest in regards to providing, “Methods and formulations for preventing of ameliorating progression to chronic heart failure subsequent to cardiac stress, including as a consequence to myocardial infarction (MI), coronary artery disease, hypertension, cardiomyopathy, myocarditis, valvular regurgitation, severe lung disease, by the administration of one or more rate-limiting precursors to the synthesis of ATP.”

Patent by Inventor Dr. John E. Foker>

05/29/14 - MOCA Awards Research Grant to Dr. Amy Skubitz

IEM Member and Professor of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology Dr. Amy Skubitz received a third renewal for $100,000 from the Minnesota Ovarian Cancer Alliance (MOCA) for her project: “Verification of ovarian cancer protein biomarkers in routine Pap tests.” In 2013 $425,000 in grants were awarded to multiple researchers to study varying issues relating to ovarian cancer. Dr. Skubitz’s 2014 grant will allow her to further study ways for clinicians to identify cancer in patients. The Minnesota Ovarian Cancer Alliance has awarded more than $4 Million in grants since 2001 to professional researchers who are investigating the various aspects of ovarian cancer at Minnesota Institutions. Special consideration is given to proposals that involve clinical trials and those that may lead to improvements in the treatment for women with ovarian cancer.

MOCA Promotes Research>

05/29/14 - Dr. Keshab Parhi Presented Keynote Talk

IEM Member and Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering Dr. Keshab Parhi presented a stimulating Keynote talk on "VLSI Systems for Neurocomputing and Health Informatics" at the 2014 ACM Great Lakes Symposium on VLSI held at Houston, Texas May 21-23, 2014. This annual event brings together researchers from around the world to discuss issues relating to VLSI systems, or ‘very large scale integration systems’, which is the process of creating a single circuit out of thousands and thousands of transistors.

Dr. Parhi’s current research interests include concurrent algorithm and architecture designs for communications, signal and image processing systems, digital integrated circuits, VLSI digital filters, computer arithmetic, finite field arithmetic architectures and their applications in error control coding and cryptography, high-level DSP synthesis, low-power digital systems, multiprocessor prototyping and task scheduling for programmable software systems, biomedical signal processing and signal classification, and molecular signal processing and computing. To learn more about Dr. Parhi's research at the University of Minnesota or Great Lakes Symposium, please visit the following web links.

Keshab K. Parhi>

GLSVLSI 2014 Program>

05/29/14 - Dr. Jakub Tolar – Research at U of M Children’s Hospital

IEM Member, Associate Professor of Pediatrics, and Director of the University of Minnesota Stem Cell Institute, Dr. Jakub Tolar recently spoke with WCCO 4 News about research at the University of Minnesota Children’s Hospital where he is an attending physician. “The University allows you to experiment, ask a question you could not possibly ask in a private industry space,” Dr. Tolar told WCCO. “Everything I know in medicine, any kind of medicine, came from basic research.” Dr. Tolar spoke of the importance of attracting good researchers to Minnesota in order to continue invaluable and groundbreaking biomedical research.

WCCO 4 News>

05/29/14 - Dr. Bin He Joined NSF Neuroimaging International Delegate

IEM Director, Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Dr. Bin He recently participated in an international study on neuroimaging, together with five other experts from Harvard University, Stanford University, NIH, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), and State University of New York (SUNY). The international study is commissioned by the National Science Foundation, organized by the World Technology Evaluation Center (WTEC) and co-sponsored by NIH and ONR. The delegate visited centers of excellence in neuroimaging in Australia, China, Japan, and Korea, and presented their findings in a Workshop held in Arlington VA on May 23, 2014. The final report will be published by WTEC and will be used by the government to aid science policy on neuroimaging and brain mapping. It will also be made available to the public.

04/02/2014 – Hubert Lim Receives NIH U01 Grant for a New Hearing Prosthesis

IEM Member Hubert Lim, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor in Biomedical Engineering, adjunct faculty in Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, and an Institute for Translational Neuroscience Scholar. He was recently awarded a 5-year U01 grant from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders to perform a Phase I clinical study testing the safety and efficacy of a new deep brain stimulation array for hearing restoration, known as the auditory midbrain implant (AMI).

The project is an international collaboration with leading clinicians and researchers from Hannover Medical University in Germany (led by Co-PI Thomas Lenarz, Chair of Otorhinolaryngology) and scientists and engineers from Cochlear Limited in Australia (led by Co-PI James Patrick, Chief Scientist & Senior Vice President).

For the past 10 years, Dr. Lim and colleagues have developed new deep brain stimulation technologies for restoring hearing in deaf patients who cannot benefit from the standard cochlear implant. Through a series of animal and cadaver studies, they obtained sufficient data and approvals to implant five patients during 2006-2008 with the first generation AMI device, which consists of 20 electrodes along a single shank that is implanted into the main auditory region of the midbrain. Although the initial results were encouraging in the ability of the AMI to restore useful hearing on a daily basis, the performance levels had not yet reached those of the cochlear implant. Through further research in animals and the five AMI subjects, a second generation AMI device was developed that consists of two shanks with a total of 22 electrodes.

In addition to the large number of sites, this AMI device has a fast processor, high stimulation rates, current steering options, multi-site neural recording capabilities, and a wireless interface. Five patients will be implanted with this new AMI device from 2014-2016 and evaluated over a two-year period to demonstrate the safety of the AMI and its improved function compared to the first generation device. The success of this project will lead to a larger clinical study across multiple implant centers worldwide to justify its use as a standard hearing alternative for those who cannot sufficiently benefit from a cochlear implant. This AMI technology can potentially be used for other deep brain stimulation and clinical applications.

Hubert Lim Laboratory>

04/02/2014 – Dr. David R. Jacobs’ Study shows how the Brain Benefits from Good Heart Health

IEM Member and Professor of Epidemiology, Dr. David R. Jacobs, recently spoke with NBC news about a study he designed and led showing the correlation between fitness levels of individuals in their 20’s to their mental fitness levels twenty-five years later. Dr. Jacobs and his colleagues found that one who is physically fit at a younger age is more likely to have better mental fitness in middle age. The study began with the administration of a treadmill test in 1985 to a group of around 5,000 people. Of that group, around 2,700 took the treadmill test again in their middle age. Five years after the most recent treadmill test the study participants underwent three different kinds of memory tests. Dr. Jacobs and his colleagues found that those who received a high score on the 1985 treadmill test also received a high score on the memory tests in middle age.

This study, published in the Journal of Neurology, illustrates the benefits of brain health through good heart health. Dr. Jacobs encourages people to actively engage in life as this has been shown to better preserve brain function.

Visit NBC News for additional information>

04/02/2014 – Thawing the Freezing of Gate in Parkinson’s disease Patients

Over half of all who are diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease also experience terrifying and debilitating episodes of ‘freezing of gait’. Whether these episodes of inability to begin or continue walking forward are frequent or not it is continually frustrating and potentially dangerous to the patient. Current treatment options for these episodes include Dopamine replacement therapy and the presentation of visual cues or signals that have been shown to break up the freezing episode.

Using high-speed cameras and electronic sensors Dr. Colum MacKinnon, IEM Member and Assistant Professor in the Department of Neurology, is working to uncover the source of why some visual cues work and others do not. Dr. MacKinnon is researching new methods and strategies of how to present visual cues in order to allow patients to overcome or avoid the ‘freezing of gait’ altogether, and to better design more reliable treatments to release Parkinson’s disease patients from their episodes of immobility.

MacKinnon Lab>

04/02/2014 – Methods of Cancer Vaccines

A vaccine to treat canine brain and bone cancers using the canine’s own tumor cells, a method originated with Dr. Elizabeth Pluhar, IEM Member and Associate Professor of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, and immunologist Dr. John Ohlfest, was recently featured on an Australian Show called Bench to Bedside, and featured in a story on KARE11 and by University News.

In their research Dr. Pluhar and Dr. Ohlfest came up with the idea to maintain the same low-oxygen environment for cells as the tumors themselves grow in. This made the cells seem less artificial to the immune system. This insight led the FDA to give the research accelerated approval to test on humans.

Visit KARE11 and Cancer Vaccine for more information>

04/02/2014 - 2014 IEM Academy of Medical Device Innovators

After tallying recent voting by members of the Institute for Engineering in Medicine, IEM is pleased to announce the 2014 class of the Academy of Medical Device Innovators. This year only one member of the University was admitted into the academy, Dr. Gerald Timm, for his contributions to the development of diagnostic instrumentation and implantable therapeutic devices for urinary incontinence and male erectile disorders. Dr. Timm is an awardee of 23 patents as well as international counterparts for various Urological devices, author of 83 academic publications, and contributor to four textbooks. As a cornerstone of his body of work, Dr. Timm’s seminal paper on inflatable penile implants is one of the three most frequently cited articles in medical urology literature. In addition, his pioneering research on electrical bladder stimulation and fluid energy transfer systems has led directly to development of a variety of medical devices for diagnosing and treating urinary control and male erectile disorders. In the process, he and his associates essentially started an entire new industry in urological medical devices.

The IEM Academy of Medical Device Innovators was established in 2012 through the University of Minnesota's Medical School and College of Science and Engineering, to honor and promote researchers who have had great impact on patients' lives through their work while at the University. Dr. Timm’s addition to the academy complements the existing class of world renowned researchers who have been a part of keeping us healthy longer, and with a higher standard of living through work performed at the University of Minnesota. The Institute for Engineering in Medicine would like to extend congratulations to Dr. Timm, and welcome him into the academy.

The Academy of Medical Device Innovators>

04/02/2014 - 2nd Annual Minnesota Neuromodulation Symposium 2014

The 2nd Annual Minnesota Neuromodulation Symposium took place on April 10-11, 2014 at The Commons Hotel immediately following the Design of Medical Devices Conference. Selling out early, the symposium attracted an international crowd of over 300 participants from various academic institutes and industries. Sessions this year featured plenary talks by world class distinguished scientists in Neuromodulation, and invited talks by thought leaders in academia, industry and government. There were also lively panel discussions on deep brain stimulation (DBS), federal funding, and noninvasive neuromodulation. A career panel was also included to help students learn about strategies to support their job search.

As part of the program, a stimulating poster session highlighting work by both established researchers in Neuromodulation and the next generation of up and coming students was included. Awards were provided to top performing students through a secretive and highly competitive process, where presenters were judged by a committee of undisclosed 12 judges. Results of the voting were close, but at the end of the day the following student presenters were selected for awards (In alphabetical order):

1st Place:
Simon Danner (Vienna University of Technology)
Sarah Offutt (University of Minnesota)

2nd Place:
Seungwoo Lee (Harvard Medical School)
Abhrajeet Roy (U of Minnesota)
Tiwalade Sobayo (Illinois Institute of Technology)

3rd Place:
Rebekah L. Schmidt (U of Minnesota)

This year’s symposium was organized by the Institute for Engineering in Medicine, cosponsored by MN Drive Brain Conditions and Medtronic Inc. Technical co-sponsoring was provided by IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biological Society (EMBS), and an endorsement was given by the International Federation of Medical and Biological Engineering (IFMBE).

The 2015 3rd Annual Neuromodulation Symposium will be held April 16-17, 2015, immediately following the Design of Medical Devices Conference.

Save the date!

Visit The Institute of Engineering in Medicine for more information>

04/02/2014 - IEM Special Seminar – Dr. Athanassios Sambanis, NSF Program Director in Biomedical Engineering

On April 22, 2014 in 3-100 Mayo Memorial Building ,the Institute for Engineering in Medicine (IEM) held a special seminar by Dr. Athanassios Sambanis, “Enabling Technologies in Cell-Based Therapies: The Case of the Pancreatic Substitute”. Dr. Sambanis’ seminar highlighted brain-related research funded by the Biomedical Engineering Program focusing on an overview of the Biomedical Engineering (BME) Program at NSF. The overall objectives of the program, thrust areas, funding opportunities, and activities in BME were presented and discussed.

Dr. Sambanis received his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Minnesota. Following his post-doctoral appointment at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Biotechnology Process Engineering Center, he joined the Georgia Institute of Technology in 1989, where he is currently Professor in the School of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering and in the Emory/Georgia Tech Department of Biomedical Engineering. As of September 2013, he is a rotator at the National Science Foundation, where he serves as Director of the Biomedical Engineering Program.

His research interests are in cellular and tissue engineering, and specifically in developing cell and tissue-based therapies for diabetes, including cell encapsulation, genetic engineering of cells for tissue engineering applications, monitoring of tissue constructs in vitro and post-transplantation in vivo, cell and tissue cryopreservation, cell and tissue functional evaluation, and mathematical modeling at the tissue, cell, and intracellular levels. He has authored or co-authored more than 85 book chapters and journal publications. He is a Fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering. His research is currently supported by NIH and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

For information on upcoming IEM Seminars and Events, please visit>

03/31/2014 - IEM Members Awarded Minnesota Partnership Grants for Collaboration with Mayo Clinic

IEM members John Bischof and Raj Rajamani and their colleagues received grants from the Minnesota Partnership for Biotechnology and Medical Genomics, a collaboration among the University of Minnesota, Mayo Clinic and the state of Minnesota.

John Bischof, Ph.D., IEM Associate Director for Development and Professor of Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering, is PI of a recently awarded Minnesota Partnership grant of $578,339 to develop a series of laser prototypes that can be used to enhance rapid diagnostic tests for malaria. Still a problem around the world, malaria cases have dropped by nearly a third in the last decade thanks to rapid diagnostic tests. But those tests, while fast, are not sensitive enough to detect lower levels of malaria or all strains of the disease. The goal of this project is to develop a series of laser prototypes that can be used to enhance rapid diagnostic tests for malaria. The laser work will be done at the University of Minnesota and a new reference lab measurement technique will be developed at Mayo Clinic. Other team members include Bobbi Pritt, M.D., the PI at Mayo Clinic and David Boulware, IEM Member, Assistant Professor of Medicine and the Co-PI of the project at the University of Minnesota.

Raj Rajamani, PhD, IEM member and Professor of Mechanical Engineering, together with Mayo Co-PI Bruce Johnson received a new Minnesota Partnership grant of $559,777 to develop smart socks tracking heart failure. The feet offer telltale symptoms of heart failure and obesity. These researchers will be developing and testing a pair of sensor-socks that people at risk for problems can wear so physicians can monitor subtle changes in body weight, water gain, edema and variations in heart rate. The goal is to have a marketable product that will detect early signs of trouble and prevent heart attacks before they happen. The University is engineering the socks; Mayo will do the physiological tests.

Minnesota Partnership Grants>

03/31/2014 - Institute on the Environment Names Matteo Convertino Resident Fellow

Matteo Convertino, Ph.D., IEM Member, Assistant Professor in Environmental Health Sciences, is named a 2014 Resident Fellow of the Institute on the Environment. Dr. Convertino will join the 58 Institute on the Environment fellows to conduct interdisciplinary projects that seek to understand and address environmental problems.

Dr. Convertino plans to identify common epidemiological, social and environmental processes that are physically and functionally responsible for the occurrence of communicable and non-communicable syndemics in socio-ecological systems. Dr. Convertino’s HumNat Lab (Laboratory for the Analysis, Modeling, and Management of Complex Human-Natural System) aims to analyze big data, develop multi-scale theoretical and computational models for understanding and managing coupled human-natural systems, apply models for solving real-world issues, and communicating research findings to stakeholders via scientific publications and artistic forms.

03/31/2014 - Jianyi Zhang Awarded NIH R01 Grant to Investigate Myocardial Repair

Jianyi (Jay) Zhang, MD, Ph.D., IEM Cardiovascular Engineering Theme Co-Chair and Professor of Medicine, was recently awarded a new R01 grant of $1.95 million from the NIH, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute to investigate myocardial repair using human iPS cells derived trilineage cardiac cells.

The R01 grant proposal, based upon pilot data supported in part by an IEM group grant, received score of 1.0 and 1 percentile, will enable Prof. Zhang and his team to examine myocardial ATP turnover rate of in vivo heart in a super high field large bore magnet with previously unattainable levels of sensitivity and spatial localization. The set of experiments seeks to develop a "human cardiac muscle patch (hcMP)", formed by entrapping human cardiac myocytes (CM), endothelial cells (EC) and smooth muscle cells (SMC) that derived from patient specific induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSC) in a modified 3D porous fibrin biomaterial. Using a porcine model of postinfarction LV remodeling, this research project will examine whether the transplantation of a prefabricated hcMP could result in better functional outcomes in reductions in LV scar bulging and wall stress, and improvements in myocardial, perfusion, bioenergetics and contractile function. The success of this project will enable identify methods to be readily applied in a clinical setting and, consequently, provide an entirely new and valuable method for treatment and monitoring myocardial function, metabolism, and perfusion in the human heart.

03/31/2014 - Daniel Duprez Speaks to WCCO 4 News on the Importance of Heart Screenings of Patients in their 30’s

Daniel Duprez M.D., Ph.D., IEM Member and Professor of Medicine, was featured in an article and news piece by WCCO 4 News in which he discussed the importance of people as young as 30 receiving heart screenings in order to prevent a heart attack.

These heart screenings consist of a series of nine tests and a blood draw and are done by the University of Minnesota Rasmussen Center. A Blood Pressure test is administered along with other tests such as a special heart rate test, an exam to monitor the blood vessels in the eye, an ultrasound to check the arteries and the heart, and a written enjoyment of life scan, among others. Each patient receives immediate feedback after each test is complete and also receives a complete analysis and personalized heath plan at the conclusion of the screening.

This heart screening is done to anticipate and manage heart and artery disease by checking for early markers of cardiovascular risk. Prevention is key, because as Dr. Duprez stated, once you have a heart attack, the damage is done.

WCCO 4 News - Dr. Daniel Duprez>

02/28/2014 - 2014 Interdisciplinary Doctoral Fellowship Winners

The Interdisciplinary Doctoral Fellowship (IDF) awards outstanding graduate students with interdisciplinary dissertation topics who would benefit from interaction with faculty at one of the University of Minnesota’s interdisciplinary research centers or institutes. The fellowship provides a unique study opportunity for students with research and scholarly interests that complement those of the host center or institute and its faculty. The Institute for Engineering in Medicine (IEM) is pleased to be one of the host sites for the Graduate School’s IDF. In addition to the stipend awards through the Graduate School, IEM offers additional funds to support professional development as well as space to accommodate the needs of research projects.

The IDF recipients for 2014 are:

Garret Nelson: "Enabling Auscultation in High Noise Environments"
Mr. Nelson has a Bachelor's Degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of St. Thomas, and is currently pursuing a PhD in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Minnesota. His research addresses improving the usability of stethoscopes by use of active noise cancellation techniques.

Tingting Xu: "Biomarkers for Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) from fMRI"
Ms. Xu has a Master of Engineering in Signal Processing from Nanjing University of Posts and Telecommunications, and is currently pursuing a PhD in Electrical Engineering at the University of Minnesota. Her research is focused on identifying biomarkers for borderline personality disorder (BPD) and pediatric obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD).

Visit Interdisciplinary Doctoral Fellowship Program for additional information>

02/28/2014 - NEW United States Patent: Fastener Deployment System

Inventors Dr. Ryan Buesseler, Dr. David B. Hom, and Dr. Arthur Erdman, IEM Theme Co-Chair of Medical Devices and Director of the Medical Devices Center at the University of Minnesota, received a US patent for their Fastener Deployment System for use in nasal septal surgery. The apparatus was built to deliver a fastener during surgery to the nasal cavity or other locations in the body that have limited access. The Fastener Deployment System works by first releasing a fastener body from a first linear member followed by the release of a fastener retainer that supports the placement of the fastener on the body, by a second linear member. The Institute for Engineering in Medicine (IEM) provided seed funding to the project. The objective of the program is to stimulate and facilitate novel ideas to address significant clinical problems with engineering solutions while fostering interdisciplinary collaboration.

Fastener Deployment System and Method>

02/28/2014 - Biopreservation Core Resource (BioCoR) Develops Startup Company, MesoFlow

BioCoR, Institute for Engineering in Medicine Affiliated Center is a centralized resource for preservation protocol development, advancing preservation science through cutting-edge research, and educating individuals in the best practices for biospecimen preservation.

A small startup company, MesoFlow has been developed with the participation of BioCoR faculty. The company competed in the MN cup (a small business plan competition) and placed second in the medical device division. Seed funding for MesoFlow has been obtained as well. As research progresses in different research projects in BioCoR, additional opportunities for small company development or licensing of intellectual property is anticipated.

Individual BioCoR faculty have had success in attracting new funding from both NSF and NIH and publications related to preservation. Preservation is a translational field and BioCoR is committed to translation of research into clinical use or commercial application. To that end, BioCoR faculty are involved in the commercialization of a microfluidic device for the removal of specialized solutions used in preservation.

Visit BioCoR for more information>

01/29/2014 - NIH R01 Grant Awarded to Sachs Research Group

A seed grant from the Institute for Engineering in Medicine (IEM) assisted in funding the research of Dr. Jonathan Sachs, Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering and IEM member, to study the protein α-Synuclein. The Sachs Research Group was recently awarded an NIH R01 Grant to study this protein. Dr. Sachs’ laboratory studies the protein α-Synuclein, whose aggregation into insoluble Lewy bodies is commonly associated with Parkinson’s disease (PD). While the connection between α-Synuclein and PD has been recognized for some time, the normal function of αS remains a mystery. The goal of Sachs Research Groupis to develop a mechanistic understanding of the inhibition of synaptic vesicle fusion by α-Synuclein. A precise understanding of the native interactions between α-Synuclein and synaptic vesicle membranes will position the Sachs Research Group to evaluate the protein’s role in vesicle trafficking defects as they relate to PD. Their approach involves quantitative studies of the biophysical and mechanical properties of synaptic vesicle membranes. The lab will combine state-of-the-art computational molecular simulations (utilizing the highly powerful machines in the Minnesota Supercomputer Institute) with a panel of complementary biophysical experiments (including atomic force microscopy—to be performed at the University’s Characterization Facility). Led by a brilliant graduate student, Anthony Braun, the lab aims to establish the foundation for new therapeutic strategies in the treatment of PD, namely to exploit the native function of the protein (i.e., restoring proper vesicle trafficking). Sachs Research Group>

01/29/2014 - David Odde recieves National Cancer Institute R01 Grant

David Odde, Ph.D., IEM Cellular and Molecular Bioengineering Theme Co-Chair and Professor of Biomedical Engineering, was recently awarded a new R01 grant from the National Cancer Institute to develop an integrated modeling and microsystems approach to glioma invasion. The $2.3M grant will involve researchers from Neurosurgery, the Masonic Cancer Center, the College of Science & Engineering and a collaboration with the Cleveland Clinic. A major goal will be to develop a "flight simulator" to simulate the mechanics of brain cancer cell migration in the brain, and use the simulator to identify possible therapeutic targets. In this study, Prof. Odde and colleagues will be using a combination of advanced genetics, mouse models, and confocal light microscopy imaging to quantitatively measure glioma cell migration and force generation dynamics in live mouse brain slices. In parallel, they are developing advanced in vitro systems with controlled chemical and mechanical properties that more closely mimic normal and diseased brain tissue. Finally, these advanced experimental systems will be used to develop the "flight simulator" for the migrating cancer cells. This computer model will then be used to screen in silico for the most vulnerable nodes, and node combinations, in the mechanochemical network. Ultimately, they hope to find drug target combinations that strongly and selectively disable glioma cell migration, leading to new and more effective therapies. David Odde Laboratory>

01/29/2014 - Blood Collection Observations in Tanzania and Uganda

During the first two weeks of December 2013 Jeffrey McCullough, M.D., led a group of four engineers from the Terumo Medical Corporation to Tanzania and Uganda to observe blood collection, handling, and storage. Dr. McCullough, Professor of Lab Medicine and Pathology and IEM member, teamed up with Termo Medical Corporation, which develops, manufactures, exports, imports, markets, distributes, and sells a diverse portfolio of medical devices, supplies, and accessories. This collaboration was formed in order to develop the next generation of their technology for treating blood to inactivate any contaminating infectious agents leading to disease free blood transfusion in parts of the world where it is most needed. Jeffrey McCullough, M.D. - MED - Laboratory Medicine and Pathology>

01/29/2014 - The Kennedy Lab Awarded Phase 1 STTR Grant and Two Phase 2 Awards

The laboratory of neurologist and IEM member Dr. William R. Kennedy has been keeping a secret of its success. The Kennedy lab (KLAB) was awarded a Phase I STTR grant for the invention of the "Bumps" device that quantifies tactile touch sensation of the finger pad at the low micrometer level in diabetic and chemotherapy patients. KLAB was also awarded a Phase 1 STTR grant for the invention of the Sensitive Sweat Test (SST). The SST quantifies function of the sudomotor nerves that stimulate sweat glands (SGs) by measuring sweat rate and volume with SG number of each one of >200 SGs plus their distribution in skin and how they are affected by chemotherapy in cancer patients and in diabetes. Recently KLAB was awarded two large STTR Phase 2 awards for the SST device and for the Bumps device. The work was jump started by early grants from the Institute for Engineering in Medicine. Dr. Kennedy credits these successes to the skills and diligence of Gwen Crabb, Brian McAdams, Shawn Foster, Rose Throldahl and Dr. Mona Selim and recently Patrick Camillari and Steve Glennon. He is grateful to Professors Steve Campbell and Greg Cibuzar and personnel at the University Nanotechnology center. Laboratory of Dr. William R. Kennedy>

01/29/2014 - The Black Bear Hibernation and Heart Health in Humans

Dr. Paul Iaizzo, Professor of Surgery, IEM Associate Director, and Director of the Visible Heart Lab, was recently interviewed by KSTP to discuss his black bear research and its possible translation to human heart health. Dr. Iaizzo explained that during hibernation the heart rate of a black bear significantly increases during inhalation and drops to only a few breathes per minute during exhalation. This adaptive cardiac physiology may have broad implications for human medicine and possibly space travel, since it would allow for prolonged periods of inactivity while maintaining both cardiac capacity and alertness. NASA has shown interest in the research. Read more through Minnesota Black Bear Research and KSTP-TV>

12/31/2013 - Giant Magnet Makes U Attractive to Brain Mapping Researchers

The world’s strongest imaging magnet has arrived at the University of Minnesota after being delayed more than a year. The Siemens MAGNETOM 10.5T will aid in brain research as part of the University’s new addition to the Medical School’s Center for Magnetic Resonance Research (CMRR). A global shortage of helium delayed the arrival of the magnet, which uses the element for cooling. “Researchers will use the magnet primarily for brain activity and human body imaging,” said Kamil Ugurbil, CMRR director and IEM member, “Being able to image human brain function improves significantly with magnetic field.” The higher magnetic field will likely provide better imaging of the human body and extremities as well, he said, although they’re much trickier to work with in a high magnetic field. CMRR received an $8 million grant from the National Institutes of Health and millions from the University for the magnet project. Read the full article through StarTribune, MPR News or KSTP TV Video>

12/31/2013 - Innovative Collaboration of the Year – Boston Scientific with the University of Minnesota Medical Devices Center wins 2013 Tekne Award

The University of Minnesota’s Medical Devices Center, along with Boston Scientific, was recently honored with the Innovative Collaboration of the Year at the 2013 Tekne Awards. The Tekne Awards recognize Minnesota businesses, companies, innovations and people for technological breakthroughs that improve the lives and futures of people living in Minnesota and all over the world. Academic and industry partnerships fuel vital discoveries and spur economic growth – but their disparate approaches can impede effective collaboration. By forging a thoughtful, synergistic working relationship that combines the resources and industry know-how of Boston Scientific Corp. (BSC) with University of Minnesota researchers and University-based hospitals and clinics, these two entities are identifying unmet clinical needs in a variety of spaces. The University of Minnesota, a leader in research and discovery, teaching and learning, created the new Minnesota Innovation Partnerships (MN-IP) program to facilitate company-sponsored University research. By streamlining collaboration agreements, several projects have already been initiated between the U of M's Medical Devices Center and BSC's cardiovascular division. Both parties have gained access to facilities and resources that otherwise would not have been available. Read the full article>

12/31/2013 - Dr. Tay Netoff Receives NSF Grant for Optimizing Deep Brain Stimulation

Dr. Tay Netoff, Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering and IEM member recently received an NSF grant addressing the optimization of deep brain stimulation. Set-up as a collaboration between the University of Minnesota, the University of California at Santa Barbara, and the University of West Virginia, this research will fund the development of optimal control algorithms to desynchronize oscillatory systems. The main interest is in developing optimal deep brain stimulation waveforms to desynchronize neurons for treatment of Parkinson's disease. This theory will be tested in brain slice experiments as well as in a more controlled experiment using photoactivatable chemical oscillators.

12/31/2013 - Team Finds that Brushing Your Teeth Could Prevent Heart Disease and Stroke

Professor of School of Public Health Division of Epidemiology & Community Health and IEM member Dr. David R. Jacobs served as co-author on a study that found brushing your teeth could prevent heart disease and stroke. Health Canal, a premier online Health News wire featured the study which was published by the Journal of the American Heart Association. According to a recent article posted in Health Canal, “The study shows for the first time that as gum health improves, progression of atherosclerosis slows to a clinically significant degree.” Read the full article>

11/30/2013 - Neuroimaging Highlighted in Nature

In a recent article published in Nature early this month, recent trends and career opportunities in neuroimaging were discussed. Imaging modalities including functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), diffusion tensor MRI, positron emission tomography (PET), electroencephalography (EEG), and optogenetic imaging are discussed, as well as computational challenges of handling “big data’ in neuroimaging. Multi-scale neuroimaging and interdisciplinary collaborations are considered important. Kamil Ugurbil, director of Center for Magnetic Resonance Research and IEM member, and Bin He, IEM director and director of Center for Neuroengineering, were quoted in Nature’s recent article. Dr. He’s work on dynamic brain mapping using EEG is also featured. Read the full article>

11/30/2013 - Minnesota to Resume Umbilical Cord Blood Donations, Jeffrey McCullough Quoted in Star Tribune and MPR

“Fact is, this is the world’s largest cord blood transplant program,” said Dr. Jeff McCullough, a U pathologist and specialist in transfusion medicine quoted in Star Tribune. “To not even be collecting here for potential transplants? We should be able to do better than that.” This November, the medical center ironed out plans for an umbilical cord blood donation program to save stem cell researchers money and make the donation process easier. Laboratory medicine and pathology professor Jeffrey McCullough said the proposed deal, which would link the University with Fairview Health Services’ Riverside clinic and the St. Louis Cord Blood Bank, would give the University more access to stem cells at no cost. He said the plans are exciting because the University currently has to buy these stem cells from a cord blood bank at a great expense. Umbilical cord blood is in demand because it contains stem cells used in a variety of medical procedures, including the treatment of cancer, McCullough said. He also said that researchers could look into making the cord blood stem cells into tissues that adult marrow stem cells cannot produce, like cartilage and heart muscles. The deal is expected to be finalized once official contracts are written by the blood bank and signed by Fairview’s attorneys. Read the full article>

11/30/2013 - U of MN’s Project Stealth Attacks Cancer in a New Way

Daniel Saltzman, M.D., an IEM Member, led a team of researchers who working on the University’s Project Stealth have altered salmonella so it no longer causes food-related illness, but rather, delivers cancer drugs interleukin-2 (IL-2) and other proteins like IL-15 to tumor cells. Once there, they work to stimulate the patient’s immune system to destroy cancer cells. Saltzman is quoted in Health Talk, the University of Minnesota’s health news blog. The key, Saltzman says, was the discovery that salmonella naturally flocks to tumor cells. Knowing this, researchers can use the bacteria to their advantage, attacking tumors in a new way. “It’s a completely nontoxic way of treating cancer that involves boosting the immune system and changing the microenvironment of tumors, rendering them nonresistant to various therapies,” Saltzman said. To raise awareness about the project, Saltzman took a non-conventional route, seeking funding from philanthropic donors and organizations rather than the traditional government or University grant funding. He hopes a new advertising campaign, provided free of charge by a local advertising agency, will help raise awareness and push Project Stealth to a point where large funding groups and the NIH will take notice. Read the full article or Donate to the Cause>

11/30/2013 - David Wood Receives American Heart Association Scientist Development Grant

David Wood, Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering and IEM Member, received the Scientist Development Grant from the American Heart Association in Self-assembled 3D vascularized tissues. He is working to address a fundamental problem in tissue engineering, which is the ability to engineer an in vitro vascular network that can supply nutrients and oxygen to cells within artificial tissues to maintain viability and function. The goal is to self-assemble a vascularized tissue construct from cell-laden micro-scale hydrogels, using only macroscopic parameters to control the self-assembly process in a highly scalable fashion. The anticipated result will be a method for producing vascularized tissue constructs in vitro that will match the efficiency of vasculature in vivo and which is scalable to arbitrarily large tissues. This method promises to greatly expand the range of applications for artificial tissues, including transplantable constructs, physiologically relevant disease models, and in vitro pharmacokinetic platforms to develop new therapeutics. Dr. Wood is a recipient of IEM Exploratory Grant in the past year.

11/30/2013 - U of MN Alumni Association Fall Issue Features the IEM Affiliated Medical Devices Center

The new Medical Devices Center (MDC) that opened this past spring in the Mayo Memorial Building at the University of Minnesota is the hot spot in Minnesota for medical device innovation. U faculty, staff, and the MDC Innovation Fellows Program are working to “recreate the magic” that physician C. Walter Lillehei and engineer Earl Bakken’s established in the creation of the smallest implantable pacemaker with new devices and the help of a wider expanse of resources. The MDC, a 8,000-square foot space with labs, workshops, state-of-the-art technology and equipment, and conference rooms is a place to connect engineers and scientists, clinical physicians, and surgeons for the creation of something new that can improve patients’ lives. With 50 patents, over 100 innovation disclosures, and 3 startup companies, MDC is located in the prime location in the midst of a city with 500 or 600 companies that support the medical device industry. With the increasing number of calls and visits from people local and international who are discovering the center, Dr. Art Erdman, a professor of mechanical engineering, IEM member, and director of the center, envisions the international interest in the center mushrooming, “we have tremendous support from the industry and lots and lots of contributions of equipment and supplies.” The magic that happened over 50 years ago is well on its way of recreation at the Medical Devices Center. Read the full article>

10/31/2013 - Daniel Keefe and Arthur Erdman Receives NSF/NIH Grant on Medical Devices Development

Daniel Keefe, Computer Science and Engineering faculty and Arthur Erdman, Mechanical Engineering faculty, Director of the Medical Devices Center and IEM member, have been awarded a grant of $725,000 related to Big Data and the future of modeling and simulation plus virtual prototyping as a core tool for medical device new product development. The proposed research will significantly advance the ability to develop new medical devices via virtual prototyping. In addition this work will help the medical device industry not only better meet the emerging health care needs, but do so by being able to deal with massive data sets (anatomical and other) and complex analytical simulations to optimize the design process and the resulting medical devices.

10/31/2013 - New Grant Will Allow U of M Researchers to Advance New Diagnosis and Treatment Methods for Meningitis

To examine new cost-effective approaches for diagnosing and treating meningitis, researchers from the University of Minnesota Medical School’s Division of Infectious Diseases and International Medicine have received a $3.2 million grant. Dr. David R. Boulware, IEM member, Medical School’s associate director of Global Health Programs in International Medicine, and grant leader stated the belief that, “a more efficient system of diagnosis and new inexpensive medications can improve lives while saving health resources that could be deployed in other ways.” Interviewed by Health Talk, the health news resource published by the University of Minnesota’s Academic Health Center Office of Communication, Dr. Boulware explained that the ultimate goal they strive to reach is the improvement of outcomes of the diagnosis and treatment of meningitis while lowering the cost of care. “By taking new approaches to common problems the University of Minnesota hopes to make a meaningful impact and generate real change.” Read the full article>

10/31/2013 - Allison Hubel Given Scholar Award by the National Blood Foundation

Director of the Biopreservation Core Resource (BioCoR), U of M Professor of Mechanical Engineering, and IEM Member Allison Hubel, was awarded the Scholar Award by The National Blood Foundation (NBF) in recognition of her pivotal scientific research and continued commitment toward the NBF and its mission. Established in 1983 the National Blood Foundation (NBF) works to advance transfusion and cellular therapies worldwide in order to optimize patient and donor care and safety. NBF has a history of supporting research and education that advances transfusion medicine and cellular therapies by funding scientific research that benefits patients and donors. For information on BioCoR>

10/31/2013 - First MN-IP License Leads to Promising Advances in Composites

Frank Thibodeau of Artiman Ventures, a Palo Alto venture capital firm, is on a mission. For the past four years, Thibodeau has been tenaciously pursuing ways to improve the quality of a certain class of composite materials, the reinforced plastics used to make a broad variety of high performance products in the aerospace, automotive, marine, and sports equipment industries. Think spaceships, race cars, boat hulls, and tennis rackets. Thibodeau, who is well versed in the science and economics of composite materials, wanted explore new techniques for making stronger, more versatile composites that are less costly to produce than the current models. Armed with some promising initial data from research at the University of Hawaii, Thibodeau sought out the right expertise to test these theories. He found that talent in an interdisciplinary research team in the University of Minnesota’s College of Science and Engineering. Thibodeau funded a two-year research project at the U of M led by Dr. Chris Macosko, a chemical engineering professor and polymer expert, and Dr. Andreas Stein, a chemistry professor with expertise in nanocomposites and materials chemistry. Read the full article>

09/30/2013 - NIH Names Demetris Yannopoulos Transformative Research Award Recipient

The National Institutes of Health recognized Dr. Demetris Yannopoulos, Associate Professor of Cardiology, and Interventional Cardiologist at the University of Minnesota Physicians Heart (Minnesota Heart Clinic), with a Transformative Research Award for his work in injury protection in the administration of CPR. Naming only ten Transformative Research Award this year, Yannopoulos represents the only scientist in Minnesota to receive an award. "This research shines a beacon of hope for the thousands of people that suffer from sudden cardiac arrest (SCA),” said Yannopoulos, "More than 90 percent of Americans (295,000 Americans) who have a SCA die within minutes. Working with through the Minnesota Resuscitation Consortium at the U of M, we are developing systems by coordinating education, training and the application of high-tech treatments among the general public, first responders, emergency medical services (EMS) and hospitals to mitigate injury and save lives for those having cardiac arrest." Member of the Lillehei Heart Institute and IEM, Dr. Yannopoulous and his team will receive $5.4 million in total costs over five years. For additional information>

09/30/2013 - The Annual IEM Conference and Retreat Successfully Held

The Annual Institute for Engineering in Medicine Conference and Retreat took place this year on September 23rd at the McNamara Alumni Center on the University of Minnesota’s Twin Cities Campus. Featuring keynote talks from world recognized leaders in medical and engineering research, this year’s conference attracted a sold out crowd of over 350 participants from the community, including students from a few local high schools looking to learn more about medical and biological engineering research. Following plenary talks, there were five breakout sessions where faculty groups and other interested parties engaged in strategic discussions on how to further enhance research collaboration between engineering and biomedicine, and between the University and industry. Wrapping up the evening was a highly competitive poster session, featuring work of 115 University of Minnesota faculty, research centers, and students. Students involved in the session were judged by a panel of UMN faculty on the quality of their presentations. Posters were divided into one of IEM’s five research themes – Cardiovascular Engineering, Cellular and Mollecular Bioengineering, Medical and Biological Imaging, Medical Devices, and Neuroengineering. The top students in each session received a certificate and $100 award for their work. The Institute for Engineering in Medicine would like to thank all of you who were able to join us at this year’s conference and retreat. Due to the success of the program, we will be hosting our next conference and retreat Monday, September 22, 2014.

09/30/2013 - IEM Member Bob Tranquillo featured in Star Tribune Article, “Using Human Cells, U Professor Builds Circulatory System Fixes”

Dr. Tranquillo, member of the Institute of Engineering in Medicine, and head of the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Minnesota works tirelessly in his lab with a team of researchers on creating arteries and heart valves manufactured from human tissue. Processes developed in his lab, which Dr. Tranquillo has been refining over the last 20 years, addresses many of the major issues with current replacement valves. For example, patients currently require multiple follow-up visits to control their body's responce to the tissue. Valves available today also do not have long-term use, as they only last about 10-15 years before they wear out. Also, with current market solutions, children are particularly vulnerable to valve replacement procedures — current valves do not grow as they get older, requireing multiple invasive surgeries to help them moderate their conditions. Recently highlighted in an article in the Star Tribune, Dr. Tranquillo spoke about the impact his work has for the public stating, “From one person’s donation of skin you could probably have enough cells to treat thousands of patients.” Through recent advances in his lab, he and his team are at the critical point of a medical breakthrough. They are nearing a process where engineered valves will actually regenerate tissue, instead of leaving a surgical scar. Read the full article>

09/30/2013 - University of Minnesota Alumni Association Fall Issue Features IEM Affiliated Medical Devices Center in “Brilliant minds and the entrepreneurial spirit are the lifeblood of the University’s new Medical Devices Center”

The new Medical Devices Center (MDC) that opened this past spring in the Mayo Memorial Building at the University of Minnesota is the hot spot in Minnesota for medical device innovation. U faculty, staff, and the MDC Innovation Fellows Program are working to “recreate the magic” that physician C. Walter Lillehei and engineer Earl Bakken’s established in the creation of the smallest implantable pacemaker, but with new devices and the help of a wider expanse of resources. The MDC, a 8,000-square foot space with labs, workshops, state-of-the-art technology and equipment, and conference rooms is a place to connect engineers and scientists, clinical physicians, and surgeons for the creation of something new that can improve patients’ lives. With 50 patents, over 100 innovation disclosures, and 3 startup companies, MDC is located in the prime location in the midst of a city with 500 or 600 companies that support the medical device industry. With the increasing number of calls and visits from people local and international who are discovering the center, Dr. Art Erdman, a professor of mechanical engineering , IEM member, and director of the center, when envisioning international interest in the center mushrooming states, “We have tremendous support from the industry and lots and lots of contributions of equipment and supplies.” The magic that happened over 50 years ago is well on its way of recreation. Read the full article>

09/30/2013 - IEM Member Dr. Paul Tuite Featured on NBC to Speak about Parkinson’s Disease

With the return of Michael J. Fox to television this fall, issues relating to Parkinson’s disease are being brought into the public eye. Publically announcing his own diagnosis with the disease in 1998, Fox’s new show will speak about some of the issues relating to his life with the neurological disorder. In order to enhance the dialog, NBC reached out to University of Minnesota researcher, and IEM member, Dr. Paul Tuite, who spoke alongside one of his patients Jackie Hunt Christensen, about the condition. Watch the interview>

08/28/2013 - IEM Co-Sponsors NSF Workshop on Mapping and Engineering the Brain

The NSF Workshop on Mapping and Engineering the Brain was successfully held August 13-14, 2013 in Arlington, VA, with co-sponsorship from the University of Minnesota’s Institute for Engineering in Medicine. About 30 invited scholars from various academic institutions participated in the 2-day workshop, together with about 35 government officials from NSF, NIH, DARPA, and other agencies. The Workshop had 12 featured scientific presentations by leaders in brain mapping and neurotechnologies, and highly interactive discussions throughout the 2-day meeting. A number of grand challenges have been identified, and will be summarized in the Workshop Report. Dr. Philip Rubin, Principal Assistant Director for Science of Office of Science and Technology Policy, Executive Office of the President, delivered the keynote talk. IEM director Dr. Bin He chaired the Workshop. See below for more information. Visit the website for NSF Workshop on Mapping and Engineering the Brain>

08/28/2013 - IEM Member Dr. Paul Iaizzo Featured on WCCO News

Dr. Paul Iaizzo, IEM member and Medtronic Professor of Visible Heart Research, recently spoke to WCCO news about the importance of whole body donations and how these donations will help train and educate future doctors. Heart research is made possible greatly due to the generous gifts of individuals whose hearts and bodies have been donated for research purposes. Their final act of generosity will enhance understanding of the inner workings of the human heart and contribute to lifesaving advances in cardiac medicine. Read the full story>

08/28/2013 - IEM Member Dr. Mo Li Harnessing Quantum Physics

Mo Li, Ph.D., McKnight Land-Grant Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and IEM Member, was featured on the University of Minnesota Twin Cities website for his research in the field of quantum physics. Dr. Li’s research combines nanoscale optical and mechanical devices on integrated semiconductor chips (ICs). Dr. Li’s research team develops nanodevices that explore the interaction between light and forces in the regime of classical physics and quantum physics where light acts as individual photons. They employ state-of-the-art nanofabrication to make optical ICs, in which novel optical devices are connected with optical wires, namely waveguides, for high-speed optical communication within or between chips, for optical computation and for biochemical sensing. Dr. Li and his team also strive to use these optical devices to reveal novel quantum effects and perform measurements with resolution limited only by principles of fundamental physics. The goal of the McKnight Land-Grant Professorship Program is to advance the careers of new assistant professors at a crucial point in their professional lives. The designation of McKnight Land-Grant Professor is held by recipients for a two-year period. Read additional information on Dr. Li’s lab and research>

08/28/2013 - New Book by IEM Member Dr. Redish Peers Deep into the Brain to Understand How We Make Decisions

Have you ever wondered why human beings do the things we do? Or why our actions are often at odds with our stated intentions? These questions are the subject of a new book by A. David Redish, Ph.D., IEM member and professor in the Department of Neuroscience at the University of Minnesota. In his book, The Mind Within the Brain: How We Make Decisions and How Those Decisions Go Wrong, Dr. Redish explores the complexity of how we make decisions and how our brain processes information. Read more information>

08/28/2013 - Four IEM Members Make the 2013 Top Doctors list

Due to their commitment to provide the highest quality care for their patients’, physicians and IEM members Dr. Daniel Saltzman, Dr. Paul Tuite, Dr. Douglas Yee, and Dr. Bevan Yueh have been selected to join the University of Minnesota Medical Center’s Top Doctor list of 2013. Each doctor was nominated by physicians and registered nurses who also practice at the University of Minnesota Medical Center, Fairview, as part of University of Minnesota Physicians. Daniel Saltzman, M.D., Ph.D. is a pediatric surgeon at the University of Minnesota Medical Center, Fairview and Amplatz Children’s Hospital with specialties in pediatric surgery and trauma services. His clinical interests include: neonatal, pediatric general and minimally invasive surgery, laparoscopy in children, and surgical robotics. Dr. Saltzman holds an Associate Professor position in the department of Surgery and Pediatrics at the University of Minnesota. Paul Tuite, M.D., is a neurologist at the University of Minnesota Medical Center, Fairview. His clinical interests include: movement disorders, Parkinson’s disease, progressive supranuclear palsy, tremor, multiple system atrophy, corticobasal degeneration, chorea, myoclonus, medication induced movement disorders, and dystonia. Dr. Tuite currently holds an Associate Professorship in the Department of Neurology at the University of Minnesota. Douglas Yee, M.D., holds the John H. Kersey Chair in Cancer Research and directs the Masonic Cancer Center at the University of Minnesota. Dr. Yee’s clinical interest is breast cancer. Dr. Yee is Professor of Medicine and Pharmacology at the University of Minnesota. Bevan Yueh, M.D., is the Senior Examiner of the American Board of Otolaryngology and is on the Advisory Council of the National Institute of Deafness and Communication Disorders. Dr. Yueh’s clinical interests include head and neck, salivary gland, and thyroid tumors. View the complete list>

08/28/2013 - IEM Member Dr. Talkachova Receives NSF CAREER Award

Dr. Alena Talkachova, Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering and IEM Member, recently received a CAREER award from NSF for her research on “The effect of feedback on cardiac dynamics”. This project studies the natural phenomenon of electrical restitution in hearts, which is characterized by a shortening of the action potential duration of a heart as the heart rate increases. For the past several decades, mathematical modeling of electrical restitution received a lot of attention; however the current theory of electrical restitution was developed for periodic stimulation only. However, in the heart, the heart rate is never periodic, thus leading to the presence of the heart rate variability (HRV), which is modulated by many physiological factors, including the influence of circadian rhythms, temperature regulations, changes in cardiac sympathetic and parasympathetic nerve activity, respiratory rhythms, etc. The main goals of the proposed research are to extend the concept of electrical restitution to the case of non-periodic physiological stimulation by including HRV, and to develop a new algorithm for pacemakers that provide antiarrhythmic effect to the heart by stabilizing cardiac rhythms.

08/28/2013 - IEM Member Dr. Papanikolopoulos’ Scout Robot Highlighted in Big Ten Network Video Series

Robots are no longer the stuff of science fiction. In fact, at the University of Minnesota Center for Distributed Robotics, Dr. Papanikolopoulos and his graduate students are changing the way S.W.A.T. teams and military do reconnaissance. Dr. Papanikolopoulos’ Scout robots can perform reconnaissance in risky military, hostage, or rescue situations. Scout is a robot that is capable of navigating and transmitting images by remote control. This robot is not just a camera on wheels; it has been engineered to withstand the impact of being thrown into all sorts of environments and distances. Scout can remain intact whether thrown up a few stories of a building or even dropped from an airplane. Today there are thousands of Scout robots employed worldwide. It is being used in war-torn countries overseas and also stateside by members of S.W.A.T. teams. This robot has saved lives and illustrates what can be accomplished with research that has a goal and a vision and a team of extremely capable students. Watch the video on Stars of the Big 10>

08/28/2013 - Nanomedicine is Alive and Growing at the University of Minnesota

Everything our bodies do depends on interactions that happen on a nanoscale, the realm of atoms and small molecules. Today, medicine is catching up. At the University of Minnesota, nanomedicine researchers are pushing forward with projects like new drug-delivery technologies and better screening of potential drugs. In cancer biology, IEM Members Dr. John C. Bischof and Dr. Michael Garwood are out to deliver nanoparticles of iron oxide to tumors and kill them with heat while sparing healthy tissue. At the University of Minnesota’s Center for Magnetic Resonance Research, Garwood has developed SWIFT, a new technology that can measure, in the range of more than 1 milligram of iron per gram of tumor tissue, how many of the nanoparticles have been absorbed by a tumor. Read the full article>

06/11/2013 - University of Minnesota researchers control flying robot using only the mind

Dr. Bin He, IEM director and professor of biomedical engineering, and his team made a major advancement in brain-computer interface (BCI) research, which demonstrates, for the first time, the ability for human subjects to use their thoughts to steer a flying robot around a gym, making it turn, rise, dip, and even sail through a ring. The technology is completely noninvasive and uses brain waves (EEG) to detect and decode the “intention” of human subjects. The work was published in the Journal of Neural Engineering on June 5, 2013, and supported in part by grants from NSF, NIH and ONR, and in part by the Institute for Engineering in Medicine. The noninvasive BCI technology is aimed at helping disabled patients to interact with the world, and may lead to a new generation of prostheses, assistive devices, and devices helping patients with neurodegenerative diseases or mental disorders. The work was featured in Nature, BBC, CNN, NBC, CBS, New York Times, Scientific American, US News, KSTP, Star Tribune, Pioneer Press, among others. Read in detail and view video on the mind controlled flying robot.

06/04/2013 - University of Minnesota opening new state-of-the-art Medical Devices Center

On June 4, 2013 the University of Minnesota’s Medical Devices Center (MDC) opened its new 8,000 sqft state-of-the-art medical devices laboratory. The new Medical Devices Center, in the heart of the University’s Academic Health Center, will foster even greater collaboration between the University’s College of Science and Engineering, and Academic Health Center units in Medicine, Pharmacy, Dentistry, Nursing and Veterinary Medicine. State-of-the-art equipment and labs are used for designing and testing medical devices. Facilities include a 3D Virtual Design Lab, Imaging Lab, Anatomy and Physiology Lab, Mechanical and Electronic Fabrication Labs, Wet Lab, Brainstorming Rooms, and more. The Medical Devices Center is part of the University of Minnesota’s Institute for Engineering and Medicine (IEM) established in July 2007. IEM is an initiative jointly sponsored by the University’s College of Science and Engineering and Academic Health Center. The IEM fosters a wide range of high level, goal-oriented interdisciplinary research, uniting faculty in health sciences and various engineering, science and mathematics departments. Read additional information about the Medical Devices Center>

04/30/2013 - Nanomedicine Human Subjects Research (HSR) Position Paper Featured in The Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics

The position paper “Recommendations for Nanomedicine Human Subjects Research Oversight: An Evolutionary Approach for an Emerging Field” is featured in the winter 2012 issue of The Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics. Based on a grant about the ethics of human Nanomedicine research, this paper highlights issues in the field of Nanomedicine as it quickly evolves toward complex, active and interactive formulations. Nanomedicine HSR provides an occasion to think systematically about appropriate oversight, especially early in the evolution of a technology, when hazard and risk information may remain incomplete. The paper presents the consensus recommendations of a multidisciplinary, NIH-funded project group, to ensure a science-based and ethically informed approach to HSR issues in nanomedicine, and to integrate HSR analysis with analysis of occupational, bystander, and environmental concerns. Multiple members from IEM, Drs. Stephen Campbell, Arthur Erdman, Jeffrey McCullough, and Ronald A. Siegel participated in the project alongside additional collaborators from the University of Minnesota’s Law School, Medical School, and College of Science and Engineering, as well as representatives from several other institutions. Read the full article>

04/30/2013 - The Visible Heart® lab, led by Dr. Paul Iaizzo, exhibits the elements of the working heart, inside and out, in 3D

To better understand and illustrate the differences between human hearts, healthy and diseased, the University of Minnesota’s Visible Heart® Lab exhibits a live heart that exists for a few hours at a time. Currently at the lab, visitors are able to view the heart through a series of 3D imagery. Observation and research done in this lab by physicians and medical engineers is vital to the future of improved cardiac care. The Visible Heart® lab is a premiere place to perform translational systems physiology research which ranges from cellular and tissue studies to organ and whole body investigations. The Visible Heart® lab embodies a creative atmosphere which is energized by some of the best and brightest students at the University. Read the full article>

04/30/2013 - The 2013 Minnesota Neuromoldulation Symposium

Catering to a sold-out crowd, the 2013 Minnesota Neuromodulation Symposium, organized by the Institute for Engineering in Medicine, took place April 11, 2013 at the Commons Hotel immediately following the annual Design of Medical Devices Conference. This year’s program featured plenary presentations by leaders in academia, industry, and government, including representatives from the University of Minnesota, Harvard University, Medtronic, Inc. and the National Institutes of Health. Having to struggle through an unusual April blizzard, the symposium attracted over 250 participants from various academic institutions and industries, including most of the active researchers in neuromodulation at the University of Minnesota. As part of the program, the symposium included a highly interactive poster session highlighting work by both established researchers in Neuromodulation and the next generation of up and coming students. Awards were also provided to top performing students through a competitive judging process. At the end of the program, the following student presenters were selected for poster awards—1st place, Benjamin Teplitzky; 2nd place, Nessa Johnson; 3rd places, Jessica Cassidy and Cory Gloechner. The Institute for Engineering in Medicine would like to congratulate the winners of the Minnesota Neuromodulation Symposium poster competition, as well as thank all participants for a successful symposium. The 2014 Minnesota Neuromodulation Symposium will be held April 10-11, 2014 , immediately following the Design of Medical Devices Conference. Read more further information>

03/31/2013 - IEM Cosponsored Position Paper on Grand Challenges in Engineering Life Sciences and Medicine Featured in IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering

A position paper on the grand challenges in interfacing engineering with life sciences and medicine, supported in part by IEM, was published as a featured article in March issue of IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering. Despite tremendous efforts to develop the knowledge and ability that are essential to addressing biomedical problems using engineering methodologies, successfully integrating engineering into the life sciences and health care remains a grand challenge. Dr. Bin He, IEM director, is the leading author of this position paper together with 17 other authors from academia, government and industry. Read the IEEE grand challenges article>

03/31/2013 - IEM Member Dr. William Durfee’s Research on Robotic-Assisted Movement for Humans Highlighted through University of Minnesota’s Office of Business Relations

Will Durfee cautions that his inventions pale in comparison to the fictional technology that transforms genius Tony Stark into superhero Iron Man. But Durfee does acknowledge the wide range of possibilities for robots that work in cooperation with humans to make them stronger, and he is developing wearable robots that augment human motion. Although he doesn't anticipate his inventions will enable humans to punch through concrete walls, he hopes robotics can someday make us all more powerful. Read the full article>

03/31/2013 - Electrical Engineering Professor Dr. Steven Koester works with Mayo Clinic to Develop an Artificial Pancreas

For people living with type-1 diabetes, the task of monitoring blood glucose levels and administering insulin is always at the forefront of their minds. It’s something they must do multiple times a day, every day. But University of Minnesota and Mayo Clinic scientists are working together to build an artificial pancreas that would eliminate this burden. As part of this work, the University’s Steven Koester, Ph.D., a professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering, and member of the Institute for Engineering in Medicine (IEM), is designing a more accurate and reliable continuous glucose sensor that would make the artificial pancreas a better treatment option. Read the full article>

03/31/2013 - University of Minnesota researchers co-edit ‘Heart Valves: From Design to Clinical Implantation’ through Springer Publication

Drs. Paul Iaizzo, Richard Bianco, A.J. Hill, and James St. Louis co-edited a new textbook through Springer Publications, which was released in March 2013, “Heart Valves: From Design to Clinical Implantation”. This book was written as a tool for researchers to learn the most advanced science behind cardiac valve anatomy, models for testing and research methods, clinical trials, and clinical needs and applications. Read additional information about this release>

03/31/2013 - Keshab Parhi selected to receive 2012-2013 Graduate/Professional Teaching Award

Keshab K Parhi, Professor of Electrical & Computer Engineering and IEM member, has been selected to receive the University of Minnesota Award for Outstanding Contributions to Post baccalaureate, Graduate, and Professional Education for 2012-2013. Recipients are chosen for excellence in instruction; involvement in students’ research, scholarship, and professional development; development of instructional programs; and advising and mentoring of students. All recipients become members of the Academy of Distinguished Teachers. Parhi is recognized for creating new courses on VLSI signal processing at the University of Minnesota, for his graduate-level text book "VLSI Digital Signal Processing Systems" (Wiley, 1999), for mentoring 37 graduated PhD students, 8 current PhD students, over 50 MSEE graduated projects/thesis students, and over 15 pre-doctoral and post-doctoral visitors. He also served as Director of the Graduate Studies of the Electrical Engineering program during 2008-2011.

03/31/2013 - Patent Released for Nasal Septal Fastener Deployment System and Method of use by UMN Faculty

Multiple patents were approved on March 5, 2013 for a fastener deployment system and method by UMN researchers Ryan Buesseler, David Horn, and Arthur Erdman, the director of the University of Minnesota’s Medical Devices Center (MDC). This device will be used in nasal septal surgery, helping surgeons place fasteners into a patient post-surgery. This patent is in part due to IEM funding through its "What If?" program. Read more description of the full patent>

02/28/2013 - Medical Devices Center Innovation Fellows Director Saurav Paul receive honors through Twin Cities Business Magazine

In January 2013, the Medical Devices Center Innovation Fellows Program Director Saurav Paul and Fellows Alumni Ben Arcand, were named Minnesota’s Top Inventors through the Twin Cities Business Magazine. Saurav and Ben are listed under St. Jude Medical and Boston Scientific Inc. respectively. Visit the complete list of Minnesota’s 500 leading innovators>

02/28/2013 - 2013 IEM Grant recipients announced!

The Institute for Engineering in Medicine (IEM) is pleased to announce the recipients of our 2013 seed grant program. This year IEM was able to support 10 projects from a variety of backgrounds, in partial through additional support from the CTSI Office of Discovery and Translation for co-funding some of the exploratory projects. While we were not able to fund all of the programs we would have liked, we are able through our Group and Exploratory grant programs to target some of the many clinical problems that affect everyday life. We also wish to take this opportunity to thank all submitting investigators who have applied for IEM seed grants, and all reviewers and panel members for their great efforts in reviewing the proposals.

01/31/2013 - Jianping Wang and team awarded $28 million grant to lead development of next-generation microelectronics

Dr. Jianping Wang, IEM member and Electrical and Computer Engineering faculty, and his team received a $28 million, five year grant to lead a new national research center focused on developing the next generation of microelectronics. The new Center for Spintronic Materials, Interfaces, and Novel Architectures (C-SPIN) at the University of Minnesota will bring together top researchers from across the nation to develop technologies for spin-based computing and memory systems. Unlike today's computers, which function on the basis of electrical charges moving across wires, the emerging spin-based computing systems will process and store information through spin, a fundamental property of electrons. The research will have an impact beyond the world of computer science and engineering resulting in advances in nanotechnology, materials science, physics, chemistry, circuit design, and biomedicine. Visit the C-Spin website>

01/31/2013 - David Odde's research highlighted in Science Magazine: Cellular Chaos on the Dance Floor

Research generated between David Odde, IEM member and Biomedical Engineering faculty, and Carl Flink, head of the Department of Theater arts, was recently highlighted in Science Magazine's November 2012 issue in an article titled "Cellular Chaos on the Dance Floor." By dressing performers in inflatable 'sumo suits' and presenting them with rules of movement to approximate randomness, Odde and Flink can quickly test hypotheses explaining molecular movement within cells. One of the key benefits to approaching research in this manner is that instead of having to set forth programmers to generate simulations which can take a lot of time, with a few simple instructions dancers can perform the same simulations, with similar results. Read the full Science article>

12/07/2012 - Bin He Featured in The Institute of IEEE for leadership in life sciences

Dr. Bin He, IEM director and Biomedical Engineering faculty, was featured in the People Column of the December issue of The Institute, the member newspaper of IEEE. Dr. He was highlighted for his leadership in promoting partnerships between engineering and life sciences, and pioneering research in neuroengineering and brain-computer interface. IEEE is a professional association with more than 400,000 members in more than 160 countries, dedicated to advancing technological innovation and excellence for the benefit of humanity. IEEE Life Sciences Initiative is aimed at bringing together engineers with life scientists addressing grand challenges in life sciences and healthcare through engineering innovations. Read the full article in The Institute>

12/01/2012 - Patrick Alford receives AHA Development grant

Dr. Patrick Alford, IEM member and Biomedical Engineering faculty, recently received an American Heart Association Scientist Development Grant to study the role of local microarchitecture in cellular stress modulation and maladaptive remodeling during cerebral aneurysm genesis. This work will employ engineered micro tissues and computational modeling to focus on the initial stages of aneurysm formation, which are poorly understood, since aneurysms are clinically identifiable only after they are formed, and there is no natural animal model. The long-term goal of this work is to characterize the evolving mechanical behavior of tissue within aneurysms in order to develop patient-specific biomechanical models for predicting the likelihood of aneurysm development, growth, and rupture.

11/01/2012 - Abosch and Lim named to 2011-2012 Best Doctors in America List

IEM members Drs. Aviva Abosch (Neurosurgery faculty) and Kelvin Lim (Psychiatry faculty) have been named one of the Best Doctors in America for 2011‐12. Compiled by Best Doctors, Inc., the prestigious Best Doctors in America List is the product of an extensive survey from over 45,000 physicians in the United States. Best Doctors has earned an excellent reputation for reliable, candid results by remaining completely independent. The Best Doctors List is the result of an authenticated peer review, in which doctors that succeed in their specialties are selected by peers of their profession. In the last two decades, Best Doctors has been internationally recognized for its extraordinary database of physicians. Best Doctors is considered the world’s leading effort to create an authenticated, peer‐reviewed database of excellence in medicine. Only those doctors that are identified as the top 3‐5% of their respective specialty earn the honor of being named one of the Best Doctors in America.

10/29/2012 - Researchers Study Black Bear Hibernation to understand more about the Human Heart

Department of Surgery faculty, and IEM member, Dr. Paul Iaizzo’s work studying black bear hibernation was recently highlighted in an article in the Minnesota Medical Foundation’s Fall Medical Bulletin. Jointly working with University of Wyoming Biologist, Dr. Henry Harlow, and Vice President of Research and Business Development of Medtronic AF Solutions, Dr. Tim Laske, Iaizzo hopes studying the mechanics of bear hibernation will help discover ways to reduce muscle loss for heart patients while they recover after undergoing surgery.  Someday this research might also lead to the discovery of ways doctors can induce hibernation in patients instead of comas for patients in intensive care.  Dr. Iaizzo’s research highlights ways researchers from industry can collaborate with University researchers to work out problems relating to the common good.  Read the full story>

10/28/2012 - Kevin Dorfman receives Colburn Award

Dr. Kevin Dorfman, IEM member and faculty at the Department of Chemical Engineering and Material Sciences, received the Allan P. Colburn Award from the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE for his work on the dynamics of DNA in microfabricated devices. This award is set aside as a top honor for faculty members under 36 years old for significant contributions to the field of Chemical Engineering through publication.  This is the highest honor given to a young faculty member in chemical engineering in the United States. Read more about the Colburn Award>

10/04/2012 – IEM co-sponsors IEEE Life Sciences Grand Challenges Conference at National Academy of Sciences

IEM co-sponsors the first IEEE Life Sciences Grand Challenges Conference held at the National Academy of Sciences, Washington DC. Organized by the IEEE Life Sciences Initiative, and endorsed by the International Academy of Medical and Biological Engineering, this two-day event brings together leading global innovators and thought leaders to identify and explore the grand challenges in engineering, life sciences, and healthcare. The conference, chaired by Dr. Bin He, IEM director, has attracted a number of high profile speakers and participants including Dr. P. A. Sharp, Nobel Laureate and National Medal of Science Laureate, Dr. C. M. Vest, National Medal of Technology Laureate; President of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering, and Dr. R. Pettigrew, Director of National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering of NIH. Visit Conference Website>

10/03/2012- Erdman awarded European patent on surgical support structure

Dr. Art Erdman, IEM member, director of Medical Devices Center, and Mechanical Engineering faculty, and his colleagues were granted a European patent on surgical support structure. The invention involves a general surgical support structure with a particular application to ophthalmic surgery. The patent was issued on October 3, 2012, and validated in France, Germany, and the United Kingdom.

09/30/2012 - Bin He wins Outstanding Research Award from International Federation of Clinical Neurophysiology

Dr. Bin He, IEM director and Biomedical Engineering faculty, together with his colleague Ardalan Aarabi, recently received the IFCN Award for Outstanding Research in Clinical Neurophysiology from the International Federation of Clinical Neurophysiology (IFCN). The award selection was based on an original paper published in Clinical Neurophysiology, the official journal of IFCN, entitled "A rule-based seizure prediction method for focal neocortical epilepsy." Dr. He has been working on seizure localization and prediction, and his lab is actively pursuing neuromodulation research to manage epilepsy, a major neurological disorder affecting 50 million people in the world.

09/30/2012 - Matt Johnson awarded RO1 grant from NIH for deep brain stimulation research

Dr. Matt Johnson, IEM member and Biomedical Engineering faculty, awarded a multi-year RO1 grant from the NIH - National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. The grant is entitled "Algorithms for Programming Deep Brain Stimulation Systems,” with co-investigators Jerrold Vitek (Neurology) and Noam Harel (Radiology). Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is a proven therapy for patients with medication-refractory essential tremor, but a significant portion of patients with these implants do not receive adequate tremor control because of poorly placed DBS leads or inflexible DBS programming options. This research will experimentally evaluate a computational modeling approach to program a novel DBS lead with radially-segmented electrodes for improved targeting of stimulation within thalamus so as to improve the functional outcome for all patients requiring DBS to manage their essential tremor. Dr. Johnson previously received an IEM seed grant on computational study of DBS.

09/30/2012 - William Kennedy receives STTR Grant

Dr. William R. Kennedy, IEM member and Neurology faculty, received a STTR Phase I grant through Neuro Devices to show feasibility of a medical device to objectively quantify tactile (touch) sensation of the fingers. The device is called "The Bumps". Much of the development work will be contracted to the U of MN Kennedy lab (Neurology). Early development of the project was funded by matching funds from the IEM and Kennedy lab and an NIH R21 grant. The STTR is funded by the NIH National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS). The goal of research is to diagnose peripheral neuropathy early, before the patient has symptoms, to allow early treatment, as in chemotherapeutic induced neuropathy.

09/30/2012 - Ramesh Rajamani awarded R21 grant from NIH-NIDDK for urethral catheter research

Dr. Ramesh Rajamani, IEM member and Mechanical Engineering faculty, awarded a 2-year R21 grant from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases branch of NIH. The grant, “Instrumented Urethral Catheter for Measurement of Distributed Occlusive Pressures and Sphincter EMG,” is a collaboration of work between Dr. Rajamani, Gerry Timm (Urology), Art Erdman (Mechanical Engg) and Nissrine Nakib (Urology). This project will develop and evaluate a urethral catheter capable of measuring distributed urethral occlusive pressures and sphincter EMG for urodynamic diagnosis. This will for the first time enable the recording of urethral occlusion profiles during provocative maneuvers in both clinical as well as ambulatory environments. The instrumented catheter will be enabled by novel device design and microfabrication techniques for sensor fabrication.

09/22/2012 - Paul Iaizzo delivers keynote lecture at International Society for Rotary Blood Pumps

Dr. Paul Iaizzo, IEM associate director and Surgery faculty, gave the keynote presentation “Back to the Future: Laboratory Research on the Isolated Heart to Enhance Cardiovascular Device Design” at the 20th Congress of the International Society for Rotary Blood Pumps (ISBRP) in Istanbul, Turkey. The mission of the ISRBP is to provide an international forum for discussion of research, development, clinical use and social acceptance of rotary blood pumps. The other symposium keynote was Dr. O.H. Frazier, Chief of Cardiopulmonary Transplantation, Texas Heart Institute.

09/01/2012 - Becky Bergman delivers plenary keynote lecture at IEEE EMBS Annual International Conference

Dr. Becky Bergman, Chair of IEM Industrial Advisory Board and VP of Research & Technology for Medtronic CRDM, delivered one of three plenary keynote lectures at the premier international conference in biomedical engineering – 34th Annual International Conference of IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society, held in San Diego, CA, from August 28 through September 1, 2012. Her title is “Emerging Medical Device Technologies: Creating Better Healthcare Solutions for Chronic Disease Management. IEM Director Dr. Bin He chaired the plenary keynote session.

08/31/2012 - Aviva Abosch featured in MN Monthly

Dr. Aviva Abosch, IEM member and Neurosurgery faculty member, was featured on the cover of Minnesota Monthly’s August 2012 edition as one of 10 Minnesota doctors and researchers shaping the future of medicine.  Her highlighted article covers Dr. Abosch’s work in deep-brain stimulation for patients suffering from depression, and provides an account on how she started her career in science.  Read the full MN Monthly article>

08/31/2012 - Bin He, Sheng He, and Steve Engel receive NIH RO1 grant on binocular rivalry

IEM members Bin He (Biomedical Engineering), Sheng He (Psychology), and Steve Engel (Psychology) started a multi-year project sponsored by the National Eye Institute of NIH “CRCNS: Spatiotemporal imaging study of the mechanisms of binocular rivalry.” The goal of this collaborative research is to advance the understanding of the mechanisms underlying binocular rivalry, a significant unresolved issue in visual neuroscience, through the development of a novel computational spatio-temporal neuroimaging methodology.

08/15/2012 - Bin He inducted in the International Academy of Medical and Biological Engineering

IEM Director Dr. Bin He was recently inducted in the International Academy of Medical and Biological Engineering (IAMBE). IAMBE consists of about 100 Fellows worldwide recognized for their significant contributions to theory and practice of medical and biological engineering, and for international leadership in the field. Dr. He was recognized for “enduring pioneering contributions and inspired leadership in brain electric source imaging research, and tireless promotion of medical and biological engineering.”

08/15/2012 - Alena Talkachova receives NSF grant to study hybrid bifurcation with application in cardiac dynamics

IEM member and Biomedical Engineering faculty member Dr. Alena Talkachova started a 3-year study sponsored by NSF, “Collaborative Research: Hybrid Bifurcation with Applications in Cardiac Dynamics.”  The objective of the research is to explore the full potential and limitations of border-collision models in describing cardiac alternans. The project will develop a theoretical understanding of nonsmooth bifurcations as unfoldings of piecewise smooth problems, which will allow a more complete comprehension of the relation between a piecewise smooth bifurcation problem and the original smooth one.

07/25/2012 - University receives $1.08 M State DEED Grant for facility expansion of Medical Devices Center

The University of Minnesota has received a $1.08 million grant through the State of Minnesota's Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) for expansion of the Medical Device Center (MDC) facility.  This grant from the state will assist MDC in moving from its current 5,000 square-foot space in Shepherd Labs to a new 8,000 square-foot space located in the former Mayo Parking Garage. Full UMN article>

07/09/2012 - Dr. Bin He named new IEM Director

The University of Minnesota Medical School announced today that Dr. Bin He has been appointed as the next Director of the Institue for Engineering in Medicine (IEM). The appointment was made as a five-year position. Dr. He, a Distinguished McKnight University Professor of Biomedical Engineering within the College of Science and Engineering, had previously served as IEM's Associate Director for Research, a role he has held since 2010.

07/01/2012 - Jianyi Zhang receives NIH RO1 grant on bioenergetics in hypertrophied and remodeled left ventricles

IEM member and Cardiology faculty member, Dr. Jianyi Zhang, began work on a 4-year NIH/NHLBI study, “Bioenergetics in Hypertrophied and Remodeled Left Ventricle.”  The objective of this research is to compare myocardial ATP turnover rates via both CK and ATPase in the in vivo hearts with postinfarction LV remodeling with or without receiving stem cell transplantation. These experiments will focus on changes of proteins involved in energy metabolism and growth factors family proteins, and their pathways and post translational modifications.

06/26/2012 - John Bischof receives Van C. Mow Medal

Dr. John Bischof, IEM member and newly named Carl and Janet Kuhrmeyer Chair in Mechanical Engineering, was selected to receive the Van C. Mow medal, awarded annually by the ASME Bioengineering Division to one individual who has made significant contributions to the field of bioengineering through research, education, professional development, leadership in the development of the profession, as a mentor to young bioengineers, and with service to the bioengineering community. Dr. Bischof is internationally recognized for his research in bioheat and mass transfer and nanomedicine. Read full article>

06/15/2012 - Emad Ebbini named President of International Society for Therapeutic Ultrasound

Dr. Emad Ebbini, IEM member and Electrical and Computer Engineering faculty member, has been named President of the International Society for Therapeutic Ultrasound (ISTU) for a three-year term. ISTU is a non-profit organization founded in 2001 to increase and diffuse knowledge of therapeutic ultrasound to the scientific and medical community and to facilitate the translation of therapeutic ultrasound techniques into the clinical arena for the benefit of patients worldwide.

06/07/2012 - IEM-affiliated research center Biopreservation Core Resource featured in Nature Magazine

Dr. Allison Hubel, Director of the University of Minnesota's Biopreservation Core Resource (BioCoR), was mentioned in Nature Magazine this month, highlighting her roll in standardizing the field of biopreservation. With an estimated annual growth of over 20 million biobanks a year worldwide, BioCoR hopes to generate awareness and best practices for biopreservation in order for mangers of these biobanks to produce consistent and accurate data. Full article in Nature vol. 486>

06/05/2012 - Bob Tranquillo awarded US patent on engineered blood vessel

Dr. Robert Tranquillo, IEM member and Biomedical Engineering Department Head, was awarded a US patent for a bioengineered blood vessel.  The present invention relates to engineered blood vessels and methods of making such vessels using matrices comprising endothelial and smooth muscle cells, or cells capable of differentiating into endothelial and smooth muscle cell lineages (e.g., stem cells, or the progenitors thereof). Through this work, patients may soon receive artificial vessels instead of having to wait for suitable alternatives, which can have a huge implication in the field of medicine.

05/31/2012 - Recipients of the 2012-2013 Scott D. and Susan D. Augustine Biomedical Engineering Research Fellowship announced

The Institute for Engineering in Medicine in Medicine would like to congratulate Alex Doud, Sachin Shah, and Bryce Cole Holmgren for being granted the 2012-2013 Scott D. and Susan D. Augustine Biomedical Engineering Research Fellowships. This fellowship recognizes outstanding students who are participating in the M.D./M.S. Dual-Degree Program through the University of Minnesota's Medical School and Department of Biomedical Engineering. Read more about the M.D./M.S. Program>

05/29/2012 - Anthony Braun awarded F31 NSRA Fellowship

Biomedical Engineering PhD student Anthony Braun was awarded an F31 NRSA Fellowship, “Understanding the remodeling of lipid bilayers induced by binding of alpha-Synuclein.”  This 3-year NINDS (National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke) award is based from research gained through his work on an IEM seed grant awarded to his mentor, Dr. Jonathan Sachs, in FY12.  Co-sponsoring this project are Drs. Michael K. Lee and David D. Thomas.

05/29/2012 - Parhi receives IEEE Circuits and Systems Society Award

Dr. Keshab Parhi, IEM member and Electrical and Computer Engineering faculty, received the IEEE Charles A. Desoer Technical Achievement Award, which honors the individual with exceptional technical contributions to a field within the scope of the IEEE Circuits and Systems Society. The award is based on contributions as documented by publications (including but not limited to patents) and based on originality and continuity of effort. Dr. Parhi has developed a systematic theory of high-level transformations for iterative data-flow graphs. These graphs are used to describe signal processing algorithms. Architectures that are derived from these transformations lead to integrated circuits that can be used in very high-speed and low-power applications such as a gigabit Ethernet, a 10-gigabit Ethernet, or optical fiber transmission systems. Other transformations lead to integrated circuits that are used in cable modems and set top box applications. Dr. Parhi is currently working on the design of low-power biomedical devices.

04/30/2012 - Victor Barocas selected for George W. Taylor Award for Distinguished Research

Dr. Victor Barocas, IEM member and Professor of Biomedical Engineering, was selected to receive the George W. Taylor Award for Distinguished Research, which is awarded annually to one member of the faculty of the UMN College of Science & Engineering to recognize the outstanding research of a mid-career faculty member. Dr. Barocas' selection reflects his pioneering research in computational tissue biomechanics and biotransport, with emphasis on ocular, cardiovascular, and tissue engineering applications.

04/16/2012 - Jian-Ping Wang named Distinguished McKnight University Professor

Dr. Jian-Ping Wang, IEM member and Electrical and Computer Engineering faculty member, was selected this year as a University of Minnesota Distinguished McKnight Professor for his work in magnetic materials and spintronic devices for information storage and computing and molecular diagnostics which is used in the production of hard disk drives. Highlights of Dr. Wang’s career so far include discovering the origin of giant saturation magnetization in the iron nitride compound.  He also pioneered the interdisciplinary research of high-moment magnetic nanoparticles and spintronic nanosensors for the early detection of disease.

04/16/2012 - University of Minnesota highlighted in IEEE video speaking to students about Biomedical Engineering

IEEE EMB (IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology) released a video this week highlighting Biomedical Engineering as a research dicipline; showcasing stories from researchers on why they got into the field; and the ways they impact peoples' lives through their work. Drs. Bin He (Center for Neuroengineering) and Paul Iaizzo (Visible Heart Lab) speak about their research and their careers at the University. Watch video>

04/13/2012 - Allison Hubel inducted in the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering

Dr. Allison Hubel, IEM member and Professor of Mechanical Engineering, was inducted as a Fellow in the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE). The AIMBE Fellows comprise the top two percent of medical and biological engineers in the country. Professor Hubel was chosen for “leading contributions in advancing our understanding of damage during freezing, development of preservation technology and the practice of biopreservation.”

04/12/2012 - IEM Academy of Medical Device Innovators announced

The IEM Academy of Medical Device Innovators was established in 2012 through the University of Minnesota's Medical School and College of Science and Engineering to honor and promote researchers who have had great impact on patient's lives through their work while at the University. On April 12, 2012, at a special lunchtime event during the Design for Medical Devices Conference, IEM announced this year's inductees and honored them with a plaque and reception: Dr. Kurt Amplatz, Dr. Perry L. Blackshear Jr., Dr. Henry Buchwald, Dr. Richard DeWall, Dr. Robert Kaster, Dr. C. Walton Lillehei, Dr. Otto Schmitt, Dr. Owen Wangensteen, and Dr. Warren Warwick. Read more about the Academy inductees>

Additionally this year, IEM presented the IEM Director Award to Richard Bianco, Director of Experimental Surgical Services (ESS). This award is given to a current IEM member whom has made a sustained impact beyond the scope of the University that exemplifies IEM and its mission.

Please join us in thanking these individuals and their families for their contributions to medical device research!

02/07/2012 - Minnesota Innovator's Fact Sheet (MNIP) available to industry

The Office of Technology and Commercialization (OTC) has announced the availability of the Minnesota Innovation Partnership program. This program acts as a master agreement for for-profit entities to partner with the University for research collaborations. Two options are available, with generous pre-set terms to get projects underway. Through this, industrial partners receive streamlined access to the world class researchers and labs located at the University and get their next product to market faster. See the fact sheet>

01/25/2012 - Wei Shen receives NSF CAREER Award

Dr. Wei Shen, IEM member and Biomedical Engineering faculty member, was selected for a Career Award from the National Science Foundation on her project, "Multifunctional Dynamic Surfaces for Engineering Cell Microenvironments."  The Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program is a Foundation-wide activity that offers the National Science Foundation's most prestigious awards in support of the early career-development activities of those teacher-scholars who most effectively integrate research and education within the context of the mission of their organization.